FACTORY INCIDENT, THE: Helmshore: CDEP

I’ve gotta be one of the only people on the planet that absolutely loathed Government Issue’s later recordings. I’d read all these glowing reviews of each record they put out after Joyride, praising the sheer genius of John Stabb and his merry pranksters, and secretly wonder what the hell was wrong with me ‘cause I thought it was crap. No matter how many times I listened to each album, how hard I tried to “get it,” the only thing I was ever able to glean from each musical experience was complete boredom. It wasn’t just GI in particular, either. Damn near all of what came outta DC from, say, 1985 on absolutely bored me to tears. All of those bands that formed the nucleus of the fledgling “emocore” thang, Beefeater, Rites of Spring, Egghunt, et al., collectively seemed like one big vacuum intent on sucking all the excitement from the only other scene outside of Los Angeles that I gave two shits about and putting in its stead the very same arty, self-centered pretentiousness that so many of us hated about bands like Yes and ELP. It’s not that I wanted all that was coming outta there to sound like Minor Threat or even United Mutations, but I did (and still) miss the intensity of emotion that seemed so integral to that early scene and, frankly, Jawbox just don’t do it for me. I’m able to experience more intense feelings these days trying to put together a futon. But I digress. This is an EP courtesy of Stabb (now apparently going by his given name of John Shroeder) and his latest band that, although not particularly energetic, is thankfully interesting enough to warrant more than a casual listen. The sound is not unlike very mellow, post-Sonic Youth pop with guitars eschewing the standard barre chord (the punker’s fave) for more complex fingerings, and John gently crooning along. It’s also loads better than what GI ended up being, which alone is a definite plus. As this played, I found myself thinking of a boat ride on a lake, which I guess means that there’s also a certain nonverbal picturesque quality to what they’re doing that is effective. This disc certainly ain’t exactly gonna win them any punker points, but at this point in time, I don’t think they care much about such things anymore. I woulda loved to hear them do “Sheer Terror” with this sound, though. Hee hee.

 –jimmy (Post/Fact)