Affectation station

There are few absolute rules in life, but one of them is that trying to be weird usually ends up badly. There are exceptions. Miley Cyrus seems to have managed okay, but her music isn't particularly weird. And she isn't, either. Just her behavior. So maybe that doesn't count.

Mannequin Pussy

No Nets
Bright Light

These two bands are weird by design. Often they take the road less taken just because. And they both succeed because of the slavish devotion and boundless energy they commit to their causes.

Mannequin Pussy doesn't have much of a style past "loud." I suppose this is punk music, but the vocals, structure and riffage vary almost incomprehensibly from song to song. Sometimes there's a wall of distortion. Sometimes the sound is clinical. In every case, however, the band barrels into a blind alley at full speed.

The resulting crash is always interesting, and sometimes it even brings a resolution. Strangely, for all of its deconstructive tendencies, Mannequin Pussy seems to want to be an indie pop band at heart. Songs like "Denial" almost fit that sound. Just one more incongruity that cannot be fully resolved.

No Nets are a more basic indie rock band with completely wigged-out vocals courtesy of one Sal Mastrocola. There's no mystery to the music--it's uptempo and fairly tightly wound. But Mastrocola's warblings defy description. He's kind of like a slightly less manic Jello Biafra, I guess, but he can really sing when he wants to.

Another incongruity. He wants to sound like a wacktoid. That's a personal choice, but on the surface it seems like an odd one. Dig a little deeper and it makes more sense. No Nets blisters its way through its songs with abandon, but the music isn't particularly distinctive. Mastrocola is.

Strange by design. I'm all for it, as long as it works as well as it has for these two bands.

Jon Worley

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