Review Summary: Marty Anderson is bonkers.
The former band known as Dilute are as left of the dial as an indie band can get. Between the alternating cacophonous shrieks and hushed muttering of Marty Anderson, the static downtempo sections that can last up to four or five minutes and the spontaneous time signature changes in a somewhat similar vein to Mr. Bungle, Dilute are not for those who like their music accessible in the broadest sense. As if in testament to the free-flowing nature of the 2000 release, The Gypsy Valentine Curve, the album ends with one of the members saying, “I have no idea what key that was.”
The album was released on a small label and the production shows it. There are numerous points at which someone says something in the background and the quiet moments have a tendency to sound open, unlike the modern day digital practice of making music sound full and compressed. This mostly works to the band’s favor as the louder moments hit that much harder because of how hollow the quiet moments are.
Not everything on the album works, though. “Saving a Life” opens with a shrill, twinkly plucked guitar lead and a disharmoniously strummed bass. These are eventually matched to Anderson’s incomprehensible wailing and a beat that makes the drums themselves sound inebriated. Just as this track begins odd, it ends with a few minutes of stop and go blasts of random noise. The opener, “Bea”, has Anderson singing about “bees lining up” during a lullaby like rhythm punctuated by explosions of percussion.
However, as alienating as some of the odder moments can be, there are even more beautiful sections that are easy to enjoy. “Queer Dork Song” finds a strong balance between the quiet, brewing jam and the melodic heavy rock sections which culminates in an ethereal vocal outro. “Rock and or Roll” continues the prior track’s straight forward rocking and pairs it with a growing ear worm melody akin to an alt rock tune that would have been big in the late ‘90s. It is at this point of the album that lyrics transition from incomprehensible and bizarre to morbidly funny. Throughout the track, the sunny melody is accompanied by the rough chanting of “murder murder murder” and Anderson delicately singing “oh woah oh oh suicide”. In “Freedumb”, Anderson crones about how “Freedom/It’s a drag” which ignites bass-driven metal riffing.
The Gypsy Valentine Curve is an overlooked gem of turn of the century indie rock that has its own very strong personality. Some of the more oddball characteristics can work against it, depending on the listener’s tastes, but there is plenty here to space out to.