The Psychotic Reaction - Genre Music is the Enemy
Tim Miller 12/01/2008
I'm not sure which The Psychotic Reaction the gushing press quotes wrapped smugly around this CD case are talking about - ironically including a snippet from a previous GIITTV review - but it certainly isn't the one I'm reviewing. From start to finish, this extended EP is an emphatic song-by-song, blow-by-blow tour de farce.
The scratchy guitars in the irritating and overlong duel-chord intro to 'Hand Me Downs (Made me the Man I Am)' gets things off to a bad start, a whirly organ failing to heighten my optimism, which paves the way for a glorious vocal to come and snatch this song from its under-produced obscurity. Except said vocal, being of indifferent timbre and estimating rather than hitting the notes required, only serves to determine the direction this review is about to proceed in.
Throughout, the guitars are underwhelming and tinny, the drums untidy and bitty yet somehow too loud, and the off-key vocals overlook the clear need to improve. While the lyrics show some innovation and wry imagery, this is only apparent through torturous attention that the vocal doesn't really merit. The most interesting aspect to the EP is the maze of effects pedals that the guitars wind their way through, though these are often more for style than substance: the song 'A Moment Of Clarity (Flangers of Fury version)' speaking for itself. The production doesn't really suit either; it's knowingly rough and elicits a DIY ethic, but the songs are far too mediocre, the musicianship too ham-fisted (see 'Sheep'), to compensate.
At best the EP references late '80s Brit-rock on 'Is It The E.C.T?' and 'Something's Got to Give', but only in the sense that these moments are straightforward and built around failsafe progressions and structures, and even then they aren't particularly convincing. Some might come back to me saying I've missed the point, but frankly there isn't one to miss. As you might have been aware by now, all seven tracks are by and large well below the standard needed to impress in this musical climate, and indeed below the standard The Psychotic Reaction's preceding reputation had me expecting. I'd like to see that line parade upon their next press release.