Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Suavity's Mouthpiece pushes the boundaries of its experimental pop

May 18, 2011

I really enjoy reviewing multiple releases by the same artist, band or performer, as it’s fun to see how things change (or don’t). Suavity’s Mouthpiece vs. Music is the second release by the band that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, after The Passion of Suavity’s Mouthpiece. And boy, did they ever change.

While there were industrial undertones in The Passion, the majority of it was based around big band sounds. In Vs. Music, the palette is flipped; there are horn undertones, but it’s primarily an industrial/electro release. From the grinding, dissonant tones of “Sex Me Into a Straightjacket” to erratic synths of “Fire Me (Again),” this whole release is much more brittle and brutal than Suavity’s previous work.

This means that, intended or not, this is a lot closer to what people would consider rock than before (which was almost entirely absent in the first release). Just see “I Get Abstract,” which sounds somewhat like Mindless Self-Indulgence. Granted, MSI isn’t normal either, but everything’s relative in experimental music.

Songwriter J. Trafford’s chaotic sense of arrangement still holds; these songs are not for the faint of ear. Some of them sound like audio car wrecks in the amount of abrupt changes, without even mentioning the noises created. But, as in the previous release, it doesn’t seem the work of an inept composer — just an incredibly idiosyncratic one. This is best proven on “Fox Kraski,” which is proof that, if he feels like it, Suavity’s Mouthpiece can write a normal, pretty pop song.

Then again, “Crisis Welcomed” pairs some of the most painful noises SM has made with some of the most normal rhythms, making for an incredibly odd tension. “I Don’t Know Shit” is simply uncategorizable.

Suavity’s Mouthpiece vs. Music is definitely recommended for fans of experimental music. Trafford has a vision for his music, and this is the second time I’ve heard him bear that out in a hi-fi, well-recorded, totally crazy release.

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

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