The cousin-duo Cinema Cinema—Evo Gold (gtrs., vox) and Paul Claro (drums)—reached a peak early on and have been refining their plateau ever since. The last two releases, Shoot the Freak (here) and Manic Children & the Slow Aggression (here), were lunatic cages of sonic anarchy, highly attractive in a frantic, balls out, juggernaut sort of way but with a broad streak of decided artfulness, fragmented, incidentalist, and pissed'er than hell. A Night at the Fights continues the, er, tradition (I'm not sure spleen, bile, and anger constitute a 'tradition' precisely, but, as this is Earth, they might as well). Night, however, almost didn't see print, as Hurricane Sandy trashed the pair's practice space, turning their instruments and equipment into a porridge of toothpicks and diodes. Luckily for the lads, producer Martin Bisi (Swans, Sonic Youth, Dresden Dolls, John Zorn, etc.) happened upon the crestfallen musicians as they were clearing wreckage out and struck up a friendship.
The band's fans and friends then routed a fountain of cash and equipment their way, and, voila!, Cinema Cinema, instead of being an empty-theater empty-theater, was back in business, blistering the paint off walls while touring, including gigs opening for Black Flag and then over to Europe to first-slate Bisi and his band. That's why Martin produced this CD. He digs the mayhemic nutters. I suppose the closest comparative for their output would be The Mars Volta mixed with a touch of Mike Keneally, a little Fantomas, some Primus, and a lotta fucking distortion. The compositional fine points within all that are, however, quite arresting, Boxcutter one of the more obvious choices though every track is a flaming clusterfuck of variegated proportions.
Too bad a lot more punk wasn't like this back in its prime (for me, the epitome was Ministry's video In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up, though I'm quite sure punker purists would take exception to the typification since that magnificent outing was a matter of Al Jourgenson and mates deciding they were Hawkwind, with Jello Biafra tossing a stripped-down Marilyn Manson into the mix). I woulda been a good deal happier with it had that been the case, maybe even moshing in those crazy-assed sweat pits…with razors and brass knucks of course. I've no idea who Evo and Gold listened to while coming up, but there's a wealth of first-, second-, and third-hand influences preceding any compeer markers: Tool, King Crimson, Black Flag, Alice Cooper, and Stockhausen as well as all the other metalloids and punkers one would imagine. Like those giants, Cinema Cinema's is music for when you feel like either tearing up your own living room or going insane, though I suppose a good case can be made that, regardless, the latter is our new natural estate as the American Dream and capitalism go down in the smoking ruins they have always incestuously worked to create. Thus, A Night at the Fights is actually soundtrack music.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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