Self Defense Family
Try Me


3.5
great

Review

by Scott Murphy USER (14 Reviews)
January 13th, 2014 | 73 replies


Release Date: 01/13/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An intimate evening with Uncle Patrick and Aunt Angelique.

Other than La Dispute’s upcoming album Rooms of the House, their most likely won’t be a more emotionally taxing release than Self Defense Family’s Try Me in 2014. The New York band utilizes the most sincere and passionate qualities of post hardcore and punk to evoke both a lyrical and sonic experience akin to reading an exquisitely written and bound diary. With Try Me, vocalist and creative leader Patrick Kindlon chooses an intriguing direction that, while both bold and exceptionally crafted, suffers from a single (but significant) flaw.

That issue certainly isn’t the music, which is stupendous throughout. Guitar melodies paint a musical landscape rich with beauty and sparseness, presenting enough to make the mood perfect but not too much so as to detract from Kindlon’s vocals. With a delivery best described as ***ed Up’s Pink Eyes adapting the delivery style of La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer, Kindlon shines as a brilliant orator, exercising no restraint and touching upon the topics that matter most. He’s one of those front men whose lyrics are worth reading as well as hearing.

What is perhaps Kindlon’s more intrepid input is the inclusion of an interview (sans Kindlon’s questions) with nineties porn star Jeanne Fine, presented on the album by her given name, Angelique Bernstein. Split into two roughly twenty minute parts (“Angelique One” at the middle of the album and “Angelique Two” as the final track), the interview details Bernstein’s life story, which is gripping despite its length. Anecdotes of drugs, sexuality and abuse are delivered in vivid, frank detail, which was aptly put by Kindlon when he described it as “compelling.” It helps that Bernstein comes across as the listener’s favorite aunt, who’s sitting back with a Virginia Slim in one hand and cocktail in the other, candidly expounding the secrets of her vast life experience. It’s both charming and tear-inducing, and Kindlon’s risk ends up paying off.

Well, perhaps no entirely, as Bernstein’s addition is where that one problem lies. It isn’t the quality of either the music or the interview so much as the way that they coexist on the album, or rather, how they don’t. The nine songs more than warrant repeat spins, and the two halves of Angelique’s story are definitely worth at least one listen. However, they simply don’t fit together quite that well. Apologists for the band and album will surely cite any number of contextual and conceptual reasons for the interview’s placement in the album, and perhaps they may hold some validity. But there’s no overcoming the fact that from a strictly structural standpoint, having two twenty minute monologues that interrupt the album’s momentum and replace a proper closing just doesn’t work. Angelique’s contribution is certainly worth including, but it probably should have been released as a bonus disc, as it ends up clogging the flow of the album rather severely.

It’s pretty unfortunate that this issue exists, as there isn’t much else to critique Try Me about. Self Defense Family have created an overall stellar release that deserves a listen from anyone even remotely interested in this style of music. Separate the music and interview, sit back with an abundance of tissues and weep for every reason that emotions allow for.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
HenchmanOfSanta
January 13th 2014


1923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed except I don't think the songs are great either.

dimsim3478
January 13th 2014


5408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Y'know, I have never seen the word "post-punk" mentioned alongside any utterance of this band on this site, and I think it's a pretty important element in their sound. Just the fact that they're on Deathwish and toured with Touche probably means that they're not hitting audiences who listen to Siouxsie or Joy Division or anything like that, but it's essential to understand that that's where a good chunk of this band's sound comes from.

Digging: Full Of Hell and Merzbow - Full Of Hell & Merzbow

Multifarious
January 13th 2014


97 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with you dimsim3478, but I've had some troubles with using genre tags on this site, so I decided to play it safe so that labels wouldn't detract from my review.

Hep Kat
January 13th 2014


15399 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

your entire review hinges on the fact that the interviews ruin the flow of this album. this is intended to be heard on the 2xLP vinyl pressing, where the first part closes one album and the second part closes the second album

so really, if that's your reason for detracting anything from this album, it's kind of ignorant of how this band intends for their fans to hear their music

Digging: Burning Kitchen - Many Wonder About the Meaning of Life

Wadlez
January 13th 2014


4670 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry

ShitsofRain
January 13th 2014


5956 Comments


Other than La Dispute’s upcoming album Rooms of the House

stopped reading there

EaglesBecomeVultures
January 13th 2014


5273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^^^

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

MosesMalone
January 13th 2014


1836 Comments


Rooms of the house? Oh cool so it's the same idea as no place.

dimsim3478
January 13th 2014


5408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha ha, I bet the new La Dispute is actually gonna rule.

Kind of hope the concept isn't really about rooms of a house and that's just a perfectly justifiable title.

MosesMalone
January 13th 2014


1836 Comments


Yeah I just jammed No Place for the first time all the way through the other day and it was extremely underwhelming and kind of cringey, especially given all the hype and how good ALLB's previous two records are.

Calc
January 13th 2014


12363 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

little off topic we've gone here

Digging: Maxwell August Croy and Sean Mccann - I

MosesMalone
January 13th 2014


1836 Comments


Oh right Try Me also sucks but in a different way.

Hep Kat
January 13th 2014


15399 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

care to elaborate im just dying to hear this

Wadlez
January 13th 2014


4670 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Call the whambulance

MosesMalone
January 13th 2014


1836 Comments


Well it bored me so I think it sucks. But I'm not really big on the feelz skramz so I started off biased against it. But no I cannot deliver a critical analysis on this so from an academic standpoint your opinion can reign supreme.

sixdegrees
January 13th 2014


17706 Comments


feelz skramz


Digging: Sputnik - Christmas At Our House

dimsim3478
January 13th 2014


5408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^

Multifarious
January 13th 2014


97 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't buy that excuse at all, Hep Kat.

First of all, if that's how Try Me is "intended" to be heard, then why did the band allow for it to stream on Spotify long before it was officially released? And why is it available for purchase both digitally and in CD form? You'd think that if a specific method was the intended one, the band wouldn't allow for three other options.

But even if when I analyze your vinyl argument, I still feel that it doesn't hold up. Regardless of the justification for their inclusion, "Angelique One" and "Angelique Two" undeniably disrupt the flow of music on the record. With the former, it causes a twenty minute wait between actual songs, and with the latter, it takes the place of a proper closing track.

Bottom Line: In order to listen to the project as a cohesive album, the listener needs to listen to two twenty minute monologues that get in the way of enjoying the music and are not worth listening to with every single spin.

Multifarious
January 13th 2014


97 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not sure why La Dispute was a deterrent for some readers. The statement may be speculative, but I think it's a pretty educated guess based upon their past material. If it's because you dislike for the band, then I guess it's your loss. *Shrugs*

dimsim3478
January 13th 2014


5408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^People just don't like La Dispute.

Anyway, I just skip the interviews, dude. I'm sure the band doesn't expect you to listen to a 40 minute interview every damn time you want to spin the album. It's good to have the interview there, and I think it's a fantastic piece of work, but there's no way it's meant to be part of the "flow" of the album or whatever.



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