Night Control

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Death Control (2009) , 7/10

Night Control, the moniker used by Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Christopher Curtis Smith, debuted with the four cd-set Crystal Shards that collected his experiments of lo-fi bedroom pop music. The first proper album, Death Control (Kill Shaman, 2009), was a selection of those songs. Good Looks mixes a dance beat, a distorted electronic drone and a melody derived from the Velvet Underground's Sunday Morning. The exuberant chant Hello Kitty sounds like David Peel fronting a garage band of the 1960s. No Making is deranged anthemic Jimi Hendrix-ian blues-rock sung by a fan of Tommy James. The doses of distortion and studio effects increase in -*-*-*- to the point that a simple ballad becomes an orgy of dissonance. Trash wins the context for most spaced-out, trippy and dilated psychedelic jam. By the madcap standards of this collection, Star 129 is unusually straightforward and "clean": a simple litany over a simple riff with just enough sound effects to qualify as "eccentric", i.e. a respectful imitation of the Flaming Lips.
Elsewhere, Smith wanders through the southern boogie of Know Thy Peasant, and the acid-folk rant of Those Girls.
A lot of Smith's musical ideology is contained and disguised in his instrumentals: the jangling jam Two Hard, the disjointed piano-driven faux-classical Enunciated, the alien-infected space-rocking Life Control, the hypnotic repetive You're Nine.
The eight-minute For The Lanes shuffles and recycles ad infinitum African polyrhthms, droning electronica, country guitar and cryptic recitation, ending the album in a mood of alienation and trepidation.
Compared with the contemporary clumsy singer-songwriters (Ariel Pink to Kurt Vile), Smith sounded both more profound and more deranged.

Life Control (Kill Shaman, 2010) suffered from a general songwriting mediocrity. Obviously the first album collected the best of several years whereas this one collected the best of a few months. It also suffered from a much more straightforward and mainstream attitude. It should have been an EP, or maybe just a poppy single (CS).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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