There really are very few bands in the world like Bomb the Music Industry! How many bands do you know that would be willing to allow people to decide
how much they wish to spend on their album? In theory everyone who downloads and burns their albums to CD could choose not to pay a single cent; in reality many do choose to 'donate' the suggested $5, and this allows the band to survive. As it turns out, the band must have received a fair few donations for their 'free' downloads because they have survived long enough to produce three albums; all of which are available in this revolutionary format. But back in 2005, when BtMI! released this album, their debut-Album Minus Band
, they could have had no idea that people would take to this idea with such approval and generosity. In a music world where chain stores sell CD's at prices that are simply waaaay too much, Bomb the Music Industry! and 'labelmates' at Quote Unquote Records act as the counterculture to the mainstream, and this makes their name very relevant-Bomb the Music Industry!
Ethics aside, what is important about the music world is just that - the music. If BtMI! were
*** then their DIY, punk ethics could potentially be rendered redundant. If they were
*** then no one would bother downloading their music, let alone paying for it. There are a lot of "if they were ***"'s there aren't there? Well, that's the point Bomb the Music Industry! are not ***. In fact, they are far from it. Their music is a riotous blend of punk, with brilliant doses of ska, folk and synth rock. As good as they are on CD, or more specifically in MP3 format; you can't help but imagine how much better they would be live. This is because of how energetic the music is - there is more energy in these twelve tracks than an ocean of Red Bull with 1000 sugar pills dissolved in it; that of course is a very, very good thing.
This amazing energy is displayed right away in the fast, angry and less-than-a-minute long 'Blow Your Brains Out On Live TV'
. A song like this could easily come across as filler, but instead it serves as a brilliant introduction to a brilliant album. It's lyrics are made up of an angry attack against President Bush, trying to persuade him to commit suicide in front of the nation. The lyrics are far from political however, instead they are immature, but then again maturity is not what they are aiming for. They are aiming for raucous, fun punk and they hit the nail truly, and squarely on the head. The album's opener is one of two songs under a minute, the other being 'Funcoland vs. The Southern Electorate'
. Written in much the same vein as 'Blow Your Brains Out On Live TV'
, the song could well be political judging by it's title, but it is impossible to tell from the lyrics as it is so fast that it becomes impossible to tell clearly what they are. So instead of listening out for the lyrics in this one, it is best just to enjoy the fast punk music while it lasts.
Fast and furious punk is worked into pretty much every song here, but what keeps it from being generic ( in fact what make it completely un
-generic) are the other influences on show. Brilliant, fast synth riffs are incorporated in a fair few songs throughout the album, and when they are
used, they make excellent songs. As it happens, the best song on the album - 'FRRREEEEEEEEE BIIIIIIIRRRRRRD!!! ...
has a great synth riff, that simply couldn't sound happier if it tried. The song itself, is a perfect mix of reggae and fast-as-*** punk. It is like what a huge sugar rush might sound like. It is followed by the closer Future 86
which is the total opposite of it's hyper-active predecessor. It is far slower and more melancholic, and has a thin texture to begin with - a solo voice over a 'hawaiian' sounding guitar. As it happens, that solo
voice is not alone, as he is later joined by a whole chorus of voices singing in unison, that makes it sound like a campfire song, but actually good. About 2/3 of the way through a brass section comes in, with a saxophone mimicking the vocal pattern in the song. It is a great end to the album, as it is the exact opposite of what most of the album is - riotous punk with ska, reggae and folk influences.
What makes the final track more pleasing is that in the other track that uses acoustic guitar, the vocals sounded awful, and surely would have benefitted from the band being on a 'professional' label. Thankfully the poor start to 'Sweet Home Cananada'
is the only weak moment on the album. Although, the opening section to the song may be lacking in the sound quality department, the tail end of the song certainly isn't. This is when all the other instruments join in, with the acoustic strumming still at the forefront of the mix. The result of the gang vocals, and much thicker texture is a fuller, warm feeling. One possible reason why most of the songs are so chaotic here, is that some are written about panic attacks, and the energy in the songs is there to capture the feeling. The prime example of this is 'I'm a Panic Bomb, Baby!'
with the 'jerky'-sounding yells of "I'm a panic bomb-please stay away from me!" As well as this jagged vocal line, the song also uses "woah"'s, which make the listener immediately want to sing along. These vocal parts over very bouncy, happy ska-punk music make for one of the best songs on Album Minus Band
The bounciness of a lot of the songs is because of the bass lines used, as in many cases they tend to walk all over the place and are always prominent. The rhythm section is completed by the drums, which as you would expect from this type of music, are very, very fast. The guitar parts are mainly just standard power chords, but this is all that is needed, and they do their jobs well. Synths are used to great effect, especially in 'Does Your Face Hurt? No?...'
where a synth riff introduces the track, before giving way to great call-and-response vocal parts. The song also shows some of the better musicianship in the second verse where the texture thins dramatically, very suddenly-allowing the drums to add some interesting fills to the mix. However, while this is great and all, Bomb the Music Industry! don't need to rely on excellent musicianship, simply because they work so well together, and write such great songs. The songs have so much energy that it makes up for the fact that they are hard to learn, because they will make you want to listen again and again until you are singing/shouting along with every word.
Despite this being such a great album, it will most likely remain unheard by many people, as they simply won't have heard of, or hear about the band. That is a shame because they have no idea what they're missing out on. Bomb the Music Industry! have made a highly enjoyable debut album, and have stayed true to their name by not allowing bastards in the music industry to reap the benefits of the band's work. In doing this, they have also made it readily available for the fans - for free! So really, what have you got to lose by downloading this album - nothing but time. By selling music in this fashion Bomb the Music Industry! are perhaps one of the only true
DIY bands in the world today. Their business ethic is astonishing - their music is more so.