Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Locust's "New Erections" falls limp

I feel like I need to say something about this band on personal level before I get to the review. The Locust are one of my favorite bands. I have seen them many times live and loved every show. I own all their albums and listened to them to death. I have often stood up against people who say “they’re just noise, any idiot could do that” or “how can you listen to this?” The Locust’s new album is a big disappointment and everything I loved about this band is, at best, a shadow on this record.

The Locust have been one of the most divisive bands in recent memory. I cannot think of a band more people love and respect, and a band even more people absolutely hate and discount completely.

Granted, their sound is very different, full of heavily distorted guitars, strange synth effects, machine-gun drums and screeching vocals. The bands sound can best be described by their name, The Locust really do sound like a plague of locusts.

“New Erections” is the bands fifth full length in their 13 year existence. “New Erections” is somewhat of a departure from the bands previous albums, in sound as well as structure.

Instead of the bombastic 30 seconds to one minute long tracks seen in previous albums, “Plague Soundscapes” and the bands self titled release, The Locust have expanded their attention spans and created 11 songs ranging from one minute all the way up to four minutes.

The band has explored longer tracks before, on the excellent “Safety Second, Body Last” there were only two tracks, one at four minutes and one at six minutes. There were distinct songs in each “movement” that made the tracks flow very well as two long pieces. “New Erections” on the other hand, falls flat on its face. The songs are way too long and drawn out, even the ones that are two minutes.

But it’s not only structure that “New Erections” fails at. The bands sound has changed distinctly since “Safety Second, Body Last.” The lyrics are much more discernable now, revealing their inherent goofiness and over the top, dramatic nature. On the first track, “AOTKPTA”, the line “Is this the dumpster of your dreams?” makes me cringe. On previous Locust records the lyrics weren’t important at all, they were garbled and furious. Trying to understand them was a foolish endeavor and reading them still gave the listener no insight into what they meant. On “New Erections” the lyrics are loud and clear, which is a bad thing.

The Locust have also adopted a more droning sound, which they used sparingly on previous albums to create a lull before the storm. “New Erections” slogs on, despite being only 23 minutes long. It seems as though the band said “screw it, you think we can’t make long songs?” and went out and made some pseudo doom metal songs.

There are a few bright spots on “New Erections” though. “Hot Tubs Full of Brand New Fuel” sounds like vintage Locust, complete with absurdly fast drumming, alternating screaming vocals and the knowledge of when to slow it down before exploding. “Book of Bot” picks up as it goes on, and when it does so, it is vicious. But again it fails as a full four minute song. If this track were divided into five or six mini tracks, it would have been much better. The last minute and a half drones on and on, for seemingly no reason.

Maybe The Locust have grown up. Who can blame a band that is almost 15 years old? Or maybe I’ve grown up. But get one thing straight, this is no longer the band that wanted to “change the way people look at music or maybe just destroy it in general”, as singer Justin Pearson once said. “New Erections” is a big disappointment to Locust fans and adds to the ammo of Locust detractors. Hopefully this won’t be the last we’ve heard from this band.


Rich said...

Since the last e.p. I saw them headed into what my friends and I call the "actual song zone". I guess its natural to mellow out a bit with age. I'm sure they'll still be awesome live.

Tim said...

I have to disagree. I think the locust are growing.
This album is amazing. Structurally its nuts. I love every second of it. One thing I could of had less of, is the deeper vocals. But still love it.