INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE!: Transmissions: CD

The packaging of this CD is really involved. The cover is hand screened and numbered and meant to resemble a spy dossier of some sort. The CD comes with a document with blacked out lines, an ID card, and a telegram, all of which appear to attempt to create some sort of Get Smart,good spy/bad spy back story. But it is mostly gibberish. There is no discernable narrative in all these extras and none of it says much about the band. The music contains fairly competent, staccato type pop punk riffs with a dance style keyboard endlessly riffing in the background, which seems to be what the kids like these days. I was ready to give it the benefit of the doubt until I foolishly consulted the internet and discovered that this band likens themselves to The Clash, The Cars, Devo, The B-52’s, XTC, The Cure, and The Tubeway Army. I don’t hear any of that here, particularly with regards to Devo. It is a dangerous comparison; there exists a tendency for high concept bands to liken themselves to other high concept bands. And anyone who can compare this band to XTC is cheating pretty heavily. Along with their CD, their website makes available disguises you can purchase and choose to be on the good guys’ side or the bad guys’ side. I am also turned off because they wear ski masks. Ski masks worked for the Rip Offs because it caused you to imagine there might be something in those masks you are afraid to be exposed to. Here, there is no perceivable danger.

 –Billups Allen (Noise To Infinity, myspace.com/noisetoinfinityrecords)