Wednesday, April 4, 2012

James Pants - Seven Seals

Ugh. This week is fucking awful, busy, and stressful, so expect a lot of late reviews (like this one) that I start and never end up finishing on time.

James Pants is a DJ from Texas with an interesting style that apparently changes or at least fluctuates between a few ends of the vast electronic spectrum every album. On Seven Seals, we have James Pants attempting to create some infectious boogie grooves with no-wave dissonances, and just from the use of the word "dissonance," you should know I'm going to enjoy this.

The cult-inspired album art was a big draw for me. A friend mentioned this album as electro-pop and I was in the mood for something different, so I checked it out based on the album art alone. Baphomets and dark artwork with a Biblical-themed title isn't the first thing you expect when you hear "pop," but Seven Seals isn't exactly an archetypal release either.

As funky dance music to Pants' fictional cult, this album serves its purpose. The latter part of the album in particular has this merit: "I Promise I Lied," "Thin Moon," and "Now Let Me Brush You" have great funk-ridden basslines and beats. The first half of the album feels a bit more straightforward, often relying on normal indie pop/rock conventions. That doesn't mean these tracks are dull. "A Chip In The Hand" and "I Live Inside An Egg" are uplifting, upbeat, and a just a little bit weird. "Beyond Time" is the most aggressive track on the album with a highly distorted riff-beat, and the straight eighth notes on "Thin Moon" are melodic and driving. There's plenty of no-wave sound and dissonance in the beats and riffs, like on "Not Me," which features some cool tritones. "Wash To Sea" also features some great saxophone-sample harmonies to go with the dissonant melodies, and is one of the more low-key tracks on Seven Seals.

The biggest problem I have with Seven Seals is that these boogie-beats do not feel fresh or dirty in the slightest. Some of the effects are really lame-sounding and ugly (not in a good way), like they came straight out of the pro-tools box. Some of the tracks, like the opener and "I Saw You" are pretty forgettable and boring too. The album was apparently recorded by Pants over a weekend of reading cult-themed books in a cabin somewhere. Seven Seals certainly sounds that way. It has that cult atmosphere, and the DIY feel of using stock samples, albeit well.

7.0 out of 10


1. The Eyes Of The Lord
2. A Chip In The Hand
3. Beyond Time
4. I Live Inside An Egg
5. Wormhole
6. Sky Warning
7. Seven Seals Theme
8. Thin Moon
9. Not Me
10. I Saw You
11. Now, Let Me Brush You
12. I Promise I Lied
13. Wash To Sea
14. Aqua Sun
15. Oceans

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