Recently I’ve started doing some music reviews for Die Shellsuit, Die! My first assignment was to review the new Papa Roach single and an album by a band called Passe Montagne. Unsurprisingly, the new Papa Roach single is shit. Passe Monatgne are pretty good though. If you like Oxes, Shellac or any other Math/Noise rock band, I would recommend that you listen to them on myspace, here. Maybe listen to them whilst you read the reviews below. Go on. Reviews after the jump.
Papa Roach – ‘Hollywood Whore‘
Seeing the name Papa Roach back in print, you’d expect it to be a case of them following in Limp Bizkit’s footsteps of announcing a reunion. If you’re expecting a Nu-Metal renaissance you’ll be disappointed. It seems that not only have Papa Roach always been here, as their moniker would suggest, they’ve also left their musical roots for dead.
At some point in the last couple of years, Papa Roach put down their copy of Faith No More’s Epic, grew out their hair and started wearing eyeliner. Musically, their new single ‘Hollywood Whore’ continues in this fashion, sounding like a third rate Avenged Sevenfold, complete with pedestrian guitar riffs and uninspiring rhythms. As you could probably guess from the title, Hollywood Whore deals with the complex nature of show business and its treatment of naïve young actors and actresses, and the depths to which people will plum for their fifteen minutes of fame, all of it wrapped up in a dull, lifeless rhyming scheme, with the overall subtlety of a fart in a crowded lift. From the opening couplet of “Cocaine nose and trendy clothes/Got to send her to rehab” the whole thing sounds like the kind of thing you’d expect from your Nirvana obsessed 16 year old little brother. Given that the song structure is identical to that of ‘Last Resort,’ their biggest single to date and one that is almost 10 years old, it’s obvious that progress and innovation are not Papa Roach’s strong points, but dull, irrelevant rock is.
Passe Montagne – ‘Oh My Satan’
Math rock is a tough genre to crack. At one end of the spectre it can become too obsessed with its need to be different and get too bogged down in complex time signatures and song structures for its own good; whilst at the other end of the spectre it acts as an excuse for a guitarist to reveal his inner Jimmy Page, and solo endlessly with no real aim other than to show off his chops. Thankfully, Passe Montagne manage to avoid these pitfalls and navigate the middle ground to great effect.
Clocking in at just over 20 minutes long, Passe Montagne never let up – ‘Oh My Satan’ they claim to have written around 6000 riffs, all of which are featured only briefly before they’re tossed aside in favour of something. A record for the faint hearted this is not.
Opener ‘Jupiter’ sets the bar for this record pretty damn high. It comes from nowhere, all pummelling drums and chugging guitar riffs before disappearing as fast as it appeared. The next song, ‘La Loi C’est La Loi’ sets the tone for the rest of the album, sounding like a mixture of Oxes and The Magic Band. It seems obvious that Passe Montagne are big fans of early 70s prog rock – most of their riffs wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Led Zepplin, though they’re far less indulgent then their influences, allowing parts very little breathing space before racing on to their next idea. Over the next 10 songs drums clatter about and the two guitars screech over one another, twisting between brief discordant riff and carefully plucked chords, before skipping onto a whole new idea. It’s this that is probably the weakest point of the record, though it’s only a minor one. Considering how quickly ‘Oh My Satan’ grabs your attention, it’s a shame that it’s over so quickly. Having said that it’s probably best that Passe Montagne doesn’t out stay their welcome and leave us wanting more.