Review Summary: A flawed yet enjoyable teaser for what could've potentially been truly great
It suckes Tim Taylor died as soon as he did. For about six years his band Brainiac
produced some of the most original indie-noise imaginable. Their stuff was weird, goofy, and in some cases, creepy as all hell. Brainiac was an exciting band, to keep it short. Electronics always played a key role in their music, and by the time they released Static Prigs In Static Couture
in 1996, they were an integral part of the band’s sound. Thus, they decided to progress even further with this digitized sound by making their 1997 follow up EP Electro-Shock For President
(almost) completely synth-based.
might come off as a surprise for fans of albums such as Bonsai Superstar
. While the rest of the band’s catalog came across as weird yet energetic fun, this EP is actually very sterile and somewhat sinister. Guitars are gloomy and are mostly used as texture for the jerky, glitchy bleeps and bloops from the keyboards. Hell, some of the vocals on this recording gives me the creeps, like the frustrated whispers on “The Turnover” (which remind me a bit of “Fucking With The Altimiter” from Bonsai Superstar
), the computerized vocoder-filtered singing on “Flash Ram”, and the murky, dreary mumbling on “Fresh New Eyes”. The only real track here that resembles the band’s “classic” sound (in that it focuses on guitar, bass, and drums rather than electronics) is “Mr. Fingers”, which shows off the bands trademarked silliness and scrappy guitarwork.
The main problem with the recording, however, is that most of it is just bland electronic noise. There’s not too much flavor in tracks like “Fashion 500”, which is composed simply of wobbly, water-like synth squeals, fuzzy blasts of noise, and a sample of some guy talking. The album sounds as if the band is still in the process of figuring out their new sound, which makes sense since that’s basically really what was going on for them during this point in time, however it still doesn't help the quality of the EP.
Electro-Shock For President
was released as a teaser for fans for the musical direction the band planned on going for their major-label debut that was supposed to come out on Interscope Records. With some work, these guys could’ve totally buffed out the scratches Electro-Shock
had and could’ve released something truly phenomenal, but sadly the band’s frontman, Tim Taylor, later died in a car accident about a month after the EP was released. The band was suddenly over, and all the potential that Electro-Shock
held was suddenly wasted away.