By: Eric Greenwood
Experimental noise is pretentious enough when Japanese noise freaks make it, but at least it's expected, fitting nicely into our lazy pigeonholes and common clichés. When it comes from a bunch of pretty boys from Providence, Rhode Island, it's a bit harder to stomach. At least the Japanese have the mystery and illusion of distance and a foreign culture to justify such tunelessness to our seemingly unlearned ears. Spoiled, white-bread, art-school schmucks pretending to be of the same ilk is entirely suspect, however. Black Dice wants you to think it's borne of the same unlistenable noise-as-art school of The Boredoms, Fushi Tusha, and even American wank-officers like Harry Pussy, when, in actuality, it's little more than an aural joke.
Bashing out atonal noise is hardly breaking new terrain. Only whiter than porridge hipster wannabes would possibly give this music the time of day. I'm not averse to noise when it's audibly arresting, but this is just relentlessly boring. The title track hints at something creative, as toy noisemakers clank and sputter in an hypnotic pattern, amidst ghostly atmospherics and low-end buzzing. But by track two, "Smile Friends", Black Dice has folded, exposing its utterly shitty hand. Feedback, screaming, and plodding drums jerk in and out of false starts and random abrasiveness. It's unbelievably awful. It might be funny to see live. Once. But that's a pony you won't be riding again. "The Raven" features more of the same arbitrary clatter.
The fact that these guys are riding a wave of hipster hype is almost as embarrassing as the "music" itself. No one would listen to this on purpose without some sort of practical joke in mind. And anyone that said he did listen to it for pleasure deserves a swift ass kicking for being a pretentious git. I'm ashamed of myself for having sat through the full ten minutes of "Birthstone." It's pure sonic terror, full of, surprise, shrill feedback that morphs into various tones of white noise. Black Dice takes the suck factor to the power of ass. Getting such a reaction is exactly the point, I imagine. I'm just a sucker playing into their, oh, so clever, hands. Except that, wink, wink, I know that you know you suck too.