Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

I Must Have-Mediocrity

July 1, 2006

Band: I Must Have

Album Name: Mediocrity

Best Element: Energy?

Genre: Indie

Website: (inactive account) /

Label: N/A

Band E-mail: N/A

I hate to say it, but this appears as a moderate at best attempt to pass this off as a CD. The packaging is water-stained, taped up, computer paper with a CD-R written on with a blue pen. Their website is inactive with a Myspace Account that hasn’t had a comment or update since January 2006. The thing is, I know not to judge a book by its cover(s), and I would be willing to forgive all of this if the music itself was only of moderate listening quality. You see, the music itself is not that incoherent, but coupled with the weak ‘live’ recording and bad mixing it is a difficult listen with levels of the instruments and vocals varying and tempos which increase and decrease with a high inconsistency.

Tracks such as “He’s a Gentleman/Pirate Newman”, “Face to be Heard” and “An Unsuccessful Attempt to Create” have tons of potential but are completely lost in the musical haze. Every time I just start getting into a track the groove is lost by either bad static/dissonance, an unintentional shift, or loss of timing. Truthfully, if this was better recorded, the drums were set to a click track, and it was mixed evenly, I Must Have may really be sitting on some good potential indie-rock with songs that vary between subtle build-ups with humble melodies to hard-driven chaos. The worst part is that with this CD it is really hard to tell. The musicianship, from what I can gather, is competent. The rhythm section, although suffering some timing issues, is synced well and is actually heard well in the mix. The guitar work is well-executed and has bpth creative merit and some interesting guitar noodling. The vocal work shifts between an odd, yet suited, crooning and a pure angst-filled yelling.

I apologize if it seems as though I’m coming off a bit harsh, but this is a tough listen. I can tell by listening to this recording that the band has wonderful energy and would most likely put on a fantastic live performance. Sadly I can’t just sit back and enjoy the music on this CD. In the future, I’d highly recommend investing in a few song EP over a poorly made demo CD. I’ve tried 6 times to listen to the CD and hoped that the energy would override the shoddy production and I could better grasp and give broader, more detailed review… sadly my aural senses are too unforgiving.

Josh Hogan

I Must Have-Shake That American Ass

March 1, 2005

imusthaveBand Name: I Must Have
Album Name: Shake That American Ass
Best element: All-genre incorporation, and spazz-out goodness.
Genre: Spaz-rock
Label name: N/a
Band e-mail:

I have a soft spot for three types of music: well-done acoustic indie-pop (Sunset Alliance’s The Novi Split), post-hardcore (Tooth and Nail’s MewithoutYou), and spaz-rock (Saddle Creek’s Beep Beep). I Must Have falls squarely in the genre of spaz-rock, and they don’t make any bones about it.

Yes, their art is spazzy, their lyrics are spazzy, their titles are spazzy, every single thing is on the verge of crazy, but not quite. This is best shown in the first track “Party Disarray” (I love it when people set out a mission statement in the first track- it’s just good album planning), where the dour vocals belt out, “You comb your hair and you drink some wine! You kill her and you thrill her!” Later on in the song he screams that sounds like a cross between Jack White and and a real scream. It’s crazy. And that’s just vocally.

Prone to rock, but also prone to random spurts of jamming, minimalist sections that prey on silence, technical math rock explosions, and to stop/start fits of spasm, this rock is so precisely written that I can’t imagine the amount of time that must have gone into this. To make all this chaos scripted for tape must have taken the utmost patience and care. The back-and-forth punch of “Robotic Harvest”, the demented drumming and stellar bass line in “Complexity in the End”, and the manic, panicked crowning achievement of the album: “Good Nights”. The song rips from all out rock to indie-rock lullaby to stomping rock to precise twists of songwriting and back…it simply defies logic. It’s awesome.

I Must Have disables the barriers of music. They incorporate everything into their spazziness, and if you like experimentation, hard music, indie rock, or like to be punched in the face, you should definitely Shake That American Ass with I Must Have.

-Stephen Carradini

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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