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.
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
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.
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
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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