Home and Garden CD review by Howard Wuelfing

Music Reviews
Home and Garden CD review by Howard Wuelfing
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Jan 22, 2008, 15:42

Home and Garden - History and Geography
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HOME AND GARDEN History and Geography CD

In a lot of ways, Home And Garden sum up what was original and vital AS WELL AS limiting in the polemically avant-garde affectations of the old school Cleveland/Akron proto-punk scene.

Home And Garden was comprised of Cleveland indie all-stars: Pere Ubu's rhythm section, members of the Mirrors etc; promising on paper. History & Geography anthologizes all their extant recordings from the early 80s.  Most of this music is improvisational, pointedly unorthodox, campy at times and conversant with low-art rock roots. And this describes the work of Pere Ubu at its best, as well as their cousins from down Akron way, Devo.

Ubu and Devo managed to wed these elements to some great songwriting and powerfully stylized identities and created some incredibly powerful, eccentric music thereby. Home And Garden on the other hand seemed content with keeping all these elements more pure, free form and inchoate. On a lot of cuts they set up a simple groove over which Jeff Morrison recites absurdist poesy while burbling electronics simmer in the background; then the whole thing erupts into chaotic para-diddling for a spell before settling back down into the original rut again. The final result is noble enough, but without an overall song structure to strain against lacks tension, motive force and any sense of definite direction. For some listeners, that'll be its value. For others, an Achilles Heel. [Exit Stencil]

-Howard Wuelfing

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