By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Chibi's lucky, because her four murder-boy bandmates play right along. The equally sparky "Blue" alternates between plinky synthpop verses featuring a sweet, pining Chibi and thundering metal refrains whispered by a different Chibi, murderous and rasping. The separation of the two makes the song fun. During most of the other tunes dramatic synth shrieks, helicopter sequencing, and power chords coexist, and it all sounds greatsecond for second, maybe the best-sounding CD all yearbut the melodies aren't always there, and the words often fade into generality. In "Blue," singer and instrumentalists realize what fun it is to veer from wistful sadness to heavy rage, and that over-the-top distinction translates into joy for us, even though we don't really feel their pain. The Massacre use pain more as a genre template, anyway; though the lyrics are full of suffocating lovers and blood, the band gets off more on brattiness (like in "Nevermind," when Chibi kisses off the square she met at her parents' Christmas party) and colorin addition to "Blue" and the title track, there are "Red" and "Black" instrumentals and attractive sleeve art.
How fitting, then, that Idiot Pilot's tech-metal fusion Strange We Should Meet Here opens with a song called "Losing Color," and the CD's cover features a brown-and-black dead tree. Days of the New IV? Afraid not. The only tune with any presence is protest song "To Buy a Gun," which harks back to the brief heyday of mid-'90s tech-metal gun rock, epitomized by "Hey Man, Nice Shot" and Moby's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" (the heyday was brief). Otherwise, the two Idiot Pilots do everything they can to make their music interesting, but to little avail. They program tricky drum'n'bass rattles, many of which have been done better by my mid-'90s minivan's engine. They ram metal screams into lugubrious Britpop moans, which might've been recorded inside said minivan's gas tank. But in the end, the minivan's owner's manual has more personality.
Idiot Pilot play Crash Mansion September 15.