by iFghtffyrdmns USER (63 Reviews)
September 27th, 2011 | 10 replies

Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Supermegaunderwhelming

"A Few Words About Minimalism", an article published by American novelist John Barth in 1986, spells out the author's many notions of literary minimalism, and, in doing so praised many past and present pioneers of the style. Barth first (and semi-ironically) defines minimalism as the idea that "artistic effect may be enhanced by a radical economy of artistic means, even where such parsimony compromises other values", though quickly reinforces his claim via the age-old motto of "less is more." Though the article does in fact carry on at length to stake and justify all of Barth's claims, his underlying premise regarding art and literature is quite clear: strip away the superfluous, make sure every inclusion holds substantial importance, and utilize omissions wisely in creating a strong, meaningful end product. Indie rock maintains some of these conditions as axiomatic, with many of its finest acts over the years (The National, Wye Oak, The Joy Formidable, to name just a few) casting their music in the stripped-down, straightforward manner of which Barth speaks. The idea seems easy enough to wrap one's head around - less has got to mean more, right" Well, not necessarily.

Now seems like an opportune time to introduce IAMDYNAMITE. The noisy duo, comprised of Raleigh natives Christopher Martin and Chris Phillips... well it just about suffices to say that they don't exactly get it. The whole concept of "less is more," while imposing a noticeable effect on the tracks of debut LP Supermegafantastic, has been approached by Chris & Chris in a rather half-assed fashion. On one hand, all the prominent indie rock facets appear to be present - the crisp, upbeat drum patterns; the catchy, well executed two-man vocals; the edginess that drives teenage girls clad in Urban Outfitters sundresses and Ray-Ban wayfarers onto couches and into bedrooms - they're all here. What's missing, however, accounts for the less impressive side of Supermegafantastic. Any student of Minimalism 101 should realize that what is included in the art form at hand needs to carry enough weight to make up for the surrounding simplicity and lack of lavishness. Casting vagueness aside, it's evident that the band who couldn't be bothered to use the space bar also failed to utilize anything above elementary songwriting practices. It's as if IAMDYNAMITE doubted the importance of well thought-out lyrics, and their music really suffers as a result. The irrefutably danceable rhythms, the buoyant melodies - both fall almost completely by the wayside at the hands of repetitive, elementary lyrical efforts.

'Hi Lo', a track whose name fits just a little too well, serves as an excellent example of where these guys simultaneously soar and stutter. The use of standalone vocals a separate instrument displays impressive levels of confidence and maturity that typically elude so young a band. Unfortunately, the obnoxiously over-simplified lyrics are difficult to ignore and even more difficult to take seriously, with such attempted hooks as "you take me high, you take me low/you take me anywhere you go!" quickly squandering what promise was to be had in the track. The bridge of 'O.E.O.', in its repetition of "woke up this morning', grabbed my gun/told my mama what I had done," comes off with a very similar effect, rendering the listener dismayed, dissatisfied, and disbelieving. Minimalism can't accommodate such redundancy without subtracting from the offbeat, "stripped-down" feel which it tries to achieve.

In short, IAMDYNAMITE say a little too much on their debut, all whilst failing to actually mean enough. A few definitively minimalistic characteristics have made their way onto Supermegafantastic, sure, yet the bigger picture is never truly realized. The potential at hand and its chance to blossom are nipped by the record's more outstanding deficiencies. Perhaps what Martin and Phillips need is a more clear-cut sense of purpose with their songs, as opposed to their present melee-based approach. Such underlying ambition could really add some backbone to their songwriting, allowing any future effects to BLOW UP in a good way, instead of just floating atop the stagnant banks of mediocrity below.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
September 28th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

First and foremost, my apologies go out to Irving, for I know this review's length won't quite satiate you. BUT I'M ON A MINIMALISM KICK SO CUT ME A DAMN BREAK HERE ;]

Stream some tracks on their facebook, if you care to try it before you knock it (or like it, who knows):


Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011



September 28th 2011


Good review! :]

Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011


First and foremost, my apologies go out to Irving, for I know this review's length won't quite satiate you.

You got that right. Triple NEG.

But in all seriousness, here we go with regards to actual niggle pointing:

a.) Length wasn't really an issue; at least not as much as the items below.

b.) "A Few Words About Minimalism" was an article published by American novelist John Barth in 1986, in which he spelled out his notions of literary minimalism, and, in doing so praised many past and present pioneers of the style.

K. So, Literature Referencing 101. Written works don't actually die, so you should never (or at least, 99% of the time) use the past tense to define them. The way your sentence above is worded implies that "A Few Words About Minimalism" isn't an article any longer, which is - obviously - wrong. A better way to word it might have been, ""A Few Words About Minimalism", published by American novelist John Barth in 1986, spells out the author's many personal notions of literary minimalism, and, in doing so praised many past and present pioneers of the style.

This may sound crabby and nitpicky - but trust me it isn't really, particularly when you move on to bigger, more significant works. Write something that begins with "Macbeth was a play written by Shakespeare that..." and you could be in for some serious talking-tos in academic circles.

c.) Review is solid, but it is a bit dialectically verbose at times (the irony is not lost on me don't worry haha). The intro is particularly suspect, due to its throwing of several embellishing adjectives for no concrete reason. Other instances occur as well; here: "Until they find that, however, their efforts will more than likely float atop the stagnant banks of mediocrity."

Both "however" and "stagnant" are redundant. I will also point out that using phrases like "more than likely" betrays a certain degree of uncertainty, which you might NOT want appearing in your writing when you are reviewing and want your opinion to come off as harsh, immutable fact.

Hope this helps here, now, and in the future. Cheers I Fight For Your Faggot Dominoes.

September 28th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

@Dev - hi

@pizza - thanks buddy :]

@silentpotato - well it's not very good

@Irving - go away

@casey - only if they're the product of my own loins

just kidding Irv you know I always like your comments. Definitely agree with you on point b, maybe not so much on point c but I'll read it over a few more times and maybe trim some of this fat. I already know I'd fail as a minimalist, I talk way too much for that shit.

Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011


I may have sounded a bit harsh in my comment (I'm really bad at softening my critical blows) so yeah sorry man. Also Ilu.

September 28th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

went through and changed a bunch - moved stuff around, added/deleted, used an UNFUNNY PUN, etc.

if you see this Irving, feel free to take another look through and decide if it reads more nicely.

September 29th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

don't worry potato, my sense of self importance is FAR too bloated for that.

September 2nd 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

When I first saw them open for Blue October, they were great. When I see bands live, I tend to remember that experience when listening to the album. Maybe that's why I like this album.

It might also be because I've grown to forget about most lyrics unless I really like the music and want to look into it, or if the lyrics are the focus of the album. Do people really listen to Jack White's music for the lyrics? There's a perfect example of what I mean.

The music itself is a little bland, but it certainly isn't bad. I'd say they have a lot of potential and hopefully turn out way better than some other guitarist/drummer duo that is grossly overrated *cough* Black Keys *cough*.

March 16th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Not a bad review, saw these guys opening for Sum-41... thought they would be horrible but they ended up blowing all of the other acts out of the water. Very catchy. Gets stuck in your head.

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