By: Eric G.
Moviegoer proves that presentation goes a long way. This CD comes in a translucent wax paper casing with Japanese writing on the outside. The case itself has a Japanese ocean scene screen-printed on a brown paper digi-pak, so it is almost impossible to guess what type of music is inside. Turns out its D.C. punk. Jawbox to be exact. No, Moviegoer doesn’t share any members with Jawbox, but it shares enough similarities musically (and geographically) to be subjected to the comparison. This quintet plays angular, minimalistic punk like the aforementioned Jawbox with strained, guttural vocals and a pounding rhythm section.
The songs are structured with staccato guitars and discordant melodies. The instrumental “Eskimo And Butterfly” reveals a musically tender side to the aggressive punk exterior. The band experiments with various noisemakers, distorted voice boxes, and the occasional sample. Moviegoer sounds angrier than it really is. Don’t be fooled by all the guitar chugging and noisy interludes because the vocals can’t help harmonizing and fishing out melodies wherever possible much like, ahem, Jawbox.
Moviegoer is not really my cup of tea, but it’s not clear to me why exactly. I never really liked Jawbox all that much- too boring and self-indulgent. I know it has something to do with the tone and presentation of the vocals. Also, the music is too stilted and stringent. If you deconstruct it piece by piece it sounds okay- it’s just when you throw it all together that it loses its effect. It’s been done before, but for those who can never get enough Jawbox in their diets then this might be the album of the year.