Monday, April 25, 2011

Means: The Divine Right of Means

     Unfortunately, I can find little information on this Ohio born four-piece rock band. They were formed when Jason Fredrick joined up with Brad Swiniarski, Emily and Dave Allen in 2002. This is their third lp, after 2002's debut 'Vil/Viol' and 2003's 'Community Horse', both of which I hope to review at some point. The band is now disbanded, but boy did they give it a go during the band's two-year life-span.
     'The Divine Right of Means' is a punk, garage rock fourteen track, consisting mainly of roaring vocals and electric guitar. At first glance, I thought an album like this would be pretty repetitive and boring, and I was pleasantly surprised in that respect.
     The main bulk of the songs on this album are of a hard-rock aggression, intensified by the lo-fi, screamy vocals that reach out the headphones and batter your head into submission. This stream is broken in parts though, by pop tunes that hold a Beatles-like charm, and a haunting piano ballad. While the initial assault may seem like mindless ear-popping noise, look closer and you'll see that this band play some more unusual sounds. The vocals, though screamy, manage to retain a tune throughout the album, and there are snippets of TV chatter and studio banter that fills the holes in the album and make it feel whole. There is a sense that, through their hard exterior, Means have a constant and delicate melody trying to push it's way through the noise.
     So, although this is most definitely a rock record, and a good one at that, there is more to Means than meets the eye. A band obviously aiming for obscurity, I urge you to try them out. Although there is variety in the form of the ballad, and experimental sampling, I only wish that the vocalist would have screamed a little less. I am sure that they could have retained that punk aggression without as much vocal-cord destroying. This album is available from their Free Music Archive page, as well as the other two albums, though for some reason, it is only a twelve track album. Still, I hope you give them a try.