Sunday, 25 May 2014

Album Review: Marvin The Album, by Frente!


Frente's debut album "Marvin the Album" has just been reissued, apparently in order to celebrate the fact that the record has just turned 21. I suppose Frente fans may rejoice at this - that is if they have time to do so in their hectic schedule of listening to brain-numbingly awful music, and watching twee rom-coms with all the perseverance of a dog eating its own shit.

As might be clear by this stage, I think re-releasing an album as bad as "Marvin The Album" under the pretence of being pleased by the fact it has been more than two decades since its hideous conception is behaviour akin to contracting a painful case of the boils in order to honour the fact that it's been 668 years since the peak of the Black Plague.

If albums were items of clothing, "Marvin The Album" would be a half-finished sweater knitted by an old woman fighting the ravages of Alzheimer's. Sure, it's kinda cute, but only in a way that makes you pity the brain-dead human beings that are responsible for its creation.

One of my favourite songs of recent years is a track by Father John Misty called "Now I'm Learning to Love the War" which begins with Misty singing: "Try not to think so much about/The truly staggering amount of oil it takes to make a record. All the shipping, the vinyl, the cellophane lining/The high gloss, the tape and the gear."

It's a song I used to find funny, but now my laughter has died sourly in my throat. Because, while listening to "Marvin the Album", I found I couldn't stop thinking about the oil that went into releasing this festering excuse for music not once but twice.

The copy I plucked from my local JB-Hifi was one of a dozen, and I have a bad feeling that there might be another crateful or two sitting in the store's backroom, lying in wait like a mousetrap in a fake box of chewing gum, or a serial killer lurking inside an ice-cream van.

Frente - a band whose dedicated attack on good music is equalled only by their desire to come across as the biggest twats imaginable on stage, as evidenced by the clip above.

The album is so lifeless and 'cute' it might have been recorded by an android fashioned to look like Zooey Deschanel. It's the kind of shit you might put on a mixtape for your beloved, if you were a six year old whose head had been trapped in a vice grip from birth.

Some have accused Arcade Fire of  releasing White Person music - that is, the tunes a pretentious Uni student uses to score their home movies - but honestly, next to Frente, Arcade Fire are Niggas With Attitude. From start to finish "Marvin the Album" is a simpering mess - the music is so cutesy that immediately after I played the whole thing through once I had to resist the urge to go out and punch the first passing kitten or small child.

"Here's a door and here's a window/here's a ceiling, here's a floor" are the first lines of "Accidentally Kelly Street", proving that if you start off your song sounding like a three year old explaining the lay out of her playroom to a blind person, you should probably give up writing lyrics and stick to sucking on batteries.

I'd really love to shove the members of Frente in a room with a band as good as Black Flag were in their heyday and force them to discuss what they think is the purpose of music.

Although I'm sure Henry Rollins would be an arse about it, I bet he'd say that for him music is a way to administer social change - a kind of primal anthem designed to shock us from the zombie like suffering of life under capitalist rule.

Whereas, I have no doubt that the only argument to come out of the mouth of Angie Hart, Frente's lead singer (although, labelling her as such is like calling that drunk who sits next to you on the bus and garbles on about race relations a 'Wine Connoisseur') would be that it's a way of getting cute boys wearing glasses with plastic lenses to notice you during your lonely nights at Art Class.

Please don't buy this album. If you really want to waste your money, spend it on edible toilet paper, or a jar of Tony Abbott's respect for women.

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