I Am Spoonbender CD EP review [GSL]

Music Reviews
I Am Spoonbender CD EP review [GSL]
Oct 29, 2002, 15:37



Though they've been lumped into the unfortunate “Erectocash” (or whatever they call it) movement, San Francisco's I Am Spoonbender has far more to do with Throbbing Gristle (conceptually and theoretically, not sonically) and what I call the “Juicy Bananas phenomenon” than any disposable dance scene and/or synth-pop currently happening. “Juicy Bananas” refers to the Alex Cox film, Repo Man and the scene where Lite, the black repo man is driving with Otto and as he puts a tape in the deck, says, “you ever heard Juicy Bananas? I was into these guys before everybody.” It's the purity of obscurity. That is to say, I Am Spoonbender have been mining a secret lode of ideas long before anyone else picked up a slight signal to do something similar and simpler. And, what was so unique about IAS? Haven't they also simply revised sounds of the 80's underground? By their choice of instruments and sounds, yes—but by combining them with further reaching ideas and cross-pollinated aesthetics (subliminal theory, hypnosis, ESP, futurist art), IAS has created a style that's wholly unique. IAS was into the future before everybody. This 3-song EP is a teaser for the forthcoming DVD project Hidden Persuaders and features fantastic cover artwork by Hipgnosis (the folks responsible for the amazing design on Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here and Led Zeppelin Presence, among many other great works) and guest bassist Dave Edwardson of Neurosis. “I Went and Had My Knives Sharpened”—a standard of their live set—leads off with ominous vintage synth sounds hearkening to early Gary Numan and multi-layered vocal whispers of drummer/vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter Dustin Donaldson and singer/keyboardist Cup Iwata. It's one part sci-fi soundtrack, one part Einsteurzende Neubauten. From there, IAS loads each song with loads of electronic-noises, percussion, vocal lines and, heh, hidden persuaders. Even at actual size, IAS is larger than life. [GSL]

-Dave Clifford

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