SUBSONICS: Die Bobby Die: CD

Jun 22, 2007

This Atlanta band has been keeping it crunk for so long that i have forgotten whatever it was i once knew about them, and now only remember that there was once something i knew about them but that i no longer know it. But at least i know i don’t know it! As it stands, the band reminds me about five percent of Love, five percent of Cher, about ten percent of the U-Men, and the other eighty percent of Lou Reed-slash-the Velvet Underground, from the period beginning after (but not including) White Light/White Heat and ending before (and also not including) Metal Machine Music (not surprisingly, the singer/guitarist /head dude goes by the telltale moniker of “Rockin’ Clay Reed.” Hmm... i wonder if he’s related to the dad from The Brady Bunch?). That is to say, not a bunch of flipped-out crap with cellos, nor a bunch of brain-blistering distorted guitar wig-outs, but that whole economical-yet-powerful approach of records like VU (a posthumous Velvet Underground collection that is actually their third best album) and/or Transformer (minus the whole he-she aspect of things). That is to say, they sound sort of like a cleaned-up Guided By Voices, but forced into a more traditional bass/drums/guitar framework, or sort of like M.O.T.O., but not punk/punkish. The whole affair is occasionally untidied by the fact that Rockin’ Clay Reed’s vocal register is a bit higher than Sweet Lou’s; therefore, in songs like “Why Don’t You Give Up on Flowers,” the entire faux-Velvets vibe is kinda wrecked by the fact that Lou Reed wouldn’t be singing that high in that key, which, in turn, brings to mind the old tale about how Eric Clapton started shooting heroin because he heard it would give depth to his voice, like it did for his idol Ray Charles. I played this album twice, then listened to the first four Velvet Underground albums in a row, which, as far as i can tell, makes Die Bobby Die a gateway drug of substantial insidiousness. Not at all a bad record. BEST SONG: Believe it or don’t, i like “Don’t Answer the Phone,” but i’ll also throw in “Garbage People” to maintain punk cred. BEST SONG TITLE: “Why Don’t You Give Up on Flowers” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Packaging is made to resemble the “Golden Book” series of children’s picture books.

 –norb (Slovenly,