Mindless Self Indulgence



by Jared Floryan USER (16 Reviews)
May 9th, 2015 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is my vindication with a little decoration.

Hailing from the so-called crackerjack depths of New York City, the quartet known as Mindless Self Indulgence were always an amusing bunch of musicians. Chiefly recognized for their audacious, vulgar stage presence, their method of infusing electronic rock with hip hop and punk elements, and a surprising amount of wisdom beneath MSI's sickening brand of humor, they've gained a devout army of fans over the years. Adding to all this, the band also has had a knack for churning out ear worm after ear worm; believe me, one would probably kick the bucket by now the moment said person has the gall to elude the act's cover of Method Man's “Bring the Pain”. Few would even probably be lying to themselves if they didn't at least have some begrudging respect for lead vocalist James “Jimmy Urine” Euringer's charisma, as well as the range he's got. Throughout Mindless Self Indulgence's wacky career, this whimsical fool has flirted with rapping, falsetto, and the occasional screams every once in a blue moon, so by coupling Urine with the gang's enticing musical style, you have an entourage that was relatively distinctive back in their heyday.

After Mindless had their special way with a trilogy of studio albums, they later released a fourth full-length recording under independent label The End Records. Entitled If, it is the group's second effort with bassist Lyn-Z, who a couple of you may know as former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way's spouse, but I digress. Having said that, she previously contributed to You'll Rebel to Anything, which was – to put it lightly - a record that allowed this team of misfits to gain newly discovered mainstream exposure. At the same time, they also managing to combine the ADHD-inspired atmosphere of the band's first two outings with a noticeably more accessible tone to boot, and this approach was basically expanded upon regarding If. Boasting 15 tracks on the standard edition of the LP, If contains what is by far the most cohesive material within Mindless Self Indulgence's catalog. Quite a number of the songs present generally possess an energized, dance-y swagger to them; of particular note is "Bomb in Track": its usage of turntable scratches and Euringer's rapping wouldn't sound out of place in a club-esque setting.

Fortunately for diehard MSI supporters, the album is still Mindless in name and (by extension) attitude. Jimmy's vocals during the record's duration remain distinguishable as ever, albeit comparably controlled in terms of delivery at this point. The man was already in his late 30s, so it's understandable if any restraining is in order. His aptitude for writing satisfactory hooks stays intact, if album opener “Never Wanted to Dance” and “Lights Out” are anything to go by, though to call a lot of these hooks memorable is an overstatement. The performance that these guys' leader brings in is - whilst far from terrible - predictable. Taking into consideration that the other members of this troupe are taking a backseat to programming tactics alongside this being a more vocally-driven effort, Urine's one-liners just sound phoned in. His clever wordplay barely adds anything to the more cringeworthy ditties on here like “Prescription,” “Issues,” and the especially painful “Get It Up”, the latter of which bearing a spoken word section that not only equates to padding – it's, for lack of superior wording, unfunny.

Now in spite of the spotlight shining down on Jimmy much more than necessary and some questionable songwriting choices (*cough* the cheer that introduces “Revenge”), Mindless' fourth collection still has its merits. The production handled by the triad of James Galus, guitarist Steve, Righ?, and of course Jimmy Urine himself accentuates the danceable atmosphere of If pretty darn well. Those electro-industrial touches almost make this basically above-average album on par with its predecessor. Speaking of sound, while there isn't too much variety to be found unlike, say, Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy, these industrial jungle pussy punks aren't terrified to experiment whenever they can. “Mastermind” is easily a highlight off the release, possessing a decidedly sinister aura that comes equipped with the whispery voice Urine utilizes through a majority of it. Another standout from If would be the closer “Mark David Chapman”, a track centered around (and named after) John Lennon's murderer who in the tune takes out copycat musical ensembles in order to stick out amongst the crowd.

Wanna know the bottom line? By and large, If is an enjoyable and very good library of rousing pieces, being able to stand on its own fine enough. It's nowhere near as insane or jaw-dropping as Mindless Self Indulgence's earlier albums nor does it carry a similar quantum of replay value, but beyond that, this is an acceptable addition to MSI's discography. Anyone unfamiliar with them can start out here for the accessibility value if you aren't sold on the band's arsenal of quirkiness, though the reviewer suggests going chronologically or checking out just Tight and Frankenstein Girls....


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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 9th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

My first review in a long while. Burnout's gotta be avoided sooner or later, man.

Feedback is very appreciated.

Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2015


Posd, good review

Digging: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

May 9th 2015


cool rev, pos

Digging: Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime

May 9th 2015


An Angelboros review? No way.


May 9th 2015


All the cool bands are ruined by scene kids.

Digging: FERN - FERN

May 9th 2015


didnt the guy who made invader zim directed a music vid by these guys?

May 9th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Jhonen Vasquez, IIRC, directed the music video for Shut Me Up.

May 9th 2015


Yeah, he did direct Shut Me Up.

Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2015


horrible band.

Digging: Kelela - Take Me Apart

May 10th 2015


Only ever enjoyed one full album by these guys, a couple songs here are fun though.

May 10th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

My older brother once had a deluxe edition copy of this; the artwork for that version was done by Jhonen as well. Just out of curiosity, I used to borrow it from time to time and at one point brought the booklet to school with me. Shit, those were the days.

July 3rd 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Love that record. Yeah, the sappy choruses get old over time and the overall feel is safer than the first two LPs (actually even safer than "You'll Rebel") but some melodies are just to damn good to be sour about it. And the lyrical matter is as always (balls) deep. I re-spin it every now and then just for the sing-along factor. And the punches.

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