Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RADIATOR REVIEWS: Fuck Montreal - Winter Mange

Winter Mange is The Radiator Collective's 3rd actual vinyl issue printed by Stumparumper Records in NYC, previous 7" include Scribbler's My Old Lady and ECT split with Reclusive Mute. Winter Mange is one of those records that for some reason was named after its absolute worst track. Tracks like "Alarm Clock" and "France 1954" have a certain lo-fi edge, featuring harsh yet melodic arrangements and their aggressively buzzy brand of punk rock in which the band bring that energy to the wax, but The actual track "Winter Mange" is just total cacaphony, a country blues stomp that breaks apart as dumpy atonal guitar chords crash with Heavy Metal type growls from lead singer Jenna Empey. The track almost brings side A to a screeching halt as it just doesn't help the album flow. They could have named the record "France 1954" or "I Pour Bees on Myself" but they went with Winter Mange, it baffles me. Pluto is a bit more mystical and ominous than the razor sharp metal and punk influences in the previous tracks and signifies a shift for the album into the folky and downright pleasant tune "The Rabbits". Beachglass is another place where the record stops a bit simply because of the shift in tone from creepy and ominous, dark and violent, to somewhat cheesy and nostalgic pop music. Not to mention the shift in vocals which sound like a cross between Fozzie bear and Kermit the frog. But It's this very strange approach to the vocals that give Fuck Montreal a more memorable personality than most other bands. "I Pour Bees On Myself" is an eastern European sounding nightmare, completely bizarre and eclectic with guitars getting switched out in favor of organs and ending side B in face-savingly strong fashion. So what we have here is a handful of very good songs with 2 really big misses, one per side. But when your putting out a 7" you cant allow there to be a track on each side that take the listener out of that albums experience and decreases the record's playability. Because of those 2 tracks (and lesser extent "Alarm Clock") Winter Mange could be accurately described as "annoying", but if you switch out the title track and "Beachglass" with just about any other FM tracks this would be a whoppingly strong album as tracks like "France 1954" as well as "I Pour Bees on Myself" and "Pluto" are among some of Fuck Montreal's best work. 5.6

reviewed by Mohamed El-Darwish RADIATOR COLLECTIVE 2011

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