Gizmodgery (Sponge Bath Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Recorded entirely with toy instruments, Self's Gizmodgery is an ingenious album for just that fact. However, the band known for their one hit with the catchy chorus "I hate myself/ And I want to die/ Put a knife through my chest/ And a bullet through my head," comes through with flying colors. Not only creating a concept album with a clever album, but a catchy, hook-laden album at that.
When I first read about this album, I thought for sure it was going to be a weak novelty album with nothing going for it beyond the crazy concept that it was recorded using toy instruments. But, on first listen the album clearly demonstrates it is anything and everything but. It is a classic example of pure pop-electronica genius.
The vocals are sweet and feminine, but help push the pop hooks even higher, and give the music a graceful, tender feeling, while the rough, but glossy beats produce electronic sounds that give the album a very electronica-feel.
No matter how electronic the album feels, though, it is a dynamic pop record with many faces. Roaring along, "5 Alive" delivers a crashing collage of pretty vocals and unsettling background noises. "Chameleon" is as close as anyone will ever get to creating pop-industrial-electronica. The song is heavy and hard hitting, giving it the electronica and industrial sounds. But, no matter what Self does, they always make sure the pop is there, however hidden it may be.
"Ordinaire" is an amazing song that will leave you wondering, "How the heck did they create this catchy of a pop song on freaking toy instruments?" The hooks swim like piranhas in the song, while the quirky, eccentric beats make you fall in love with the song even more.
This is a rock record in every sense of the word. Whether or not you want to admit it, Self has fucked shit up with this toy instrument album to the point of originality and brilliance, two things lacking in modern rock. They've come a long way from their annoying top forty hit. Forgive and forget that song and give this album a listen. Your jaw will drop, too. I'll give it an A+.