Volumen: Science Faction


Volumen: Science Faction
Label: Wantage USA
Release Date: 3/16/05
Review Date: 5/12/06

Sometimes I feel bad when people send me something (unsolicited) to review and I don’t like it. These guys are proof that you can put the new wave in a college town, but you can’t take the hippy out of Missoula, Montana. Er, uhm, that’s a horrible analogy. Volumen is (are?) like a hippy jam band that got a hold of some new wave keyboards and their older brother’s record collection. The idea is there but the execution is muddled in generic recording and vocal performance, and well, the hippy jam band thing. There are elements that are good, but it’s overwhelmed by mediocrity and identity crisis. They all play well, but it’s in that ironic-hippy band way. They just don’t quite get it, kind of like that scene in Sid and Nancy where the journalist is sitting next to Sid in a tour bus in Texas somewhere singing a cheesy punk rock song that he wrote “I want a job. I want a good job. I want a job that pays. One that satisfies my artistic needs” Ugh. In the album interior they appear in Misfits skeleton suits. These guys are earnest though, and they certainly have heard of Servotron, Man or Astroman, and De-evolution. I blame the Internet and the two bearded dudes in the band.

Apparently they go over well in their home town, for which I feell truly sorry for my friend Chris, who is about to live there. When you live in a cultural outpost you’ll grasp at any straw. Jus as when we resided in Steaboat Springs Colorado in the early 90’s we used to get really excited when the crappy local bands (named Highway something or other) would cover Pretenders songs or lame ska acts like Skankin Pickle would come through town. Science Faction is utterly forgettable.

Excpet for the track titled “The Launch”, which somehow manages to sound like it came from another planet when compared to the rest of the record. It’s an instrumental, which might be part of the reason and is reminiscent of those bands nowadays that have a couple of guys on stage with computers, keyboards, analog drum sets, and projected video rocking out with a lot of delay and echo. Like a more garage band Manitoba. The next track “Magnetic Communication” is like a demo for what could be a good single. Hang on, “Demonium” is interesting too. No vocals. “What I Gots” could end up better if recorded well. Last mile start off well until it comes time for vocals. “I Dunno” is actually enjoyable. What’s going on? I can’t stand this record but there is oone really good track (“The Launch”) and a couple of interesting songs like “I Dunno.” The rest of it is watered down neo-wave jams. “Dune” starts with potential but degenerates into another long jam that approaches Spinal Tap when the lone vocal whispers “Dune. Arrakis. Dessert. Planet.” If you love science fiction so much and need to include it on your record, try an approach like Naked Raygun’s “The Mule”, or go for something more over the top. Also, guys, what’s with not putting your web address or your label’s address on the CD packaging? My advice to you – stick to songs like “the Launch”, shorten your jams, and lay off the pot a little. Oy yeah, pay your web hosting bill.

Online Action: www.volumen.net
Online Action: www.wantageusa.com

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