Agony Shorthand

Thursday, July 22, 2004
OVA! / HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY I CAN’T READ: “THE NUMBER ON MY FOREHEAD IS GONE” split CD.....A split CD from two hell-raising noise racketeers, one (OVA!) who come across as a pretty fine, aggressive, rubber-burning LIGHTNING BOLT with the training wheels stripped off. Their heavy, hardcore-tempo berserk instrumentals are one step removed from something you might’ve expected Greg Ginn to bust a nut over in the late 80s and sign up onto the jam-centric SST roster – except these guys are good, are well-experienced in the art of the freak-out, and have the intensity and precision of both the Flag and The Minutemen. They’re obviously not that noteworthy, but rank as a pretty nice surprise from the hinterlands (e.g. Minneapolis). HAPPY MOTHERS DAY I CAN’T READ, their pals on this Freedom From release, are toiling in the Nautical Almanac school of dilettante knob-twiddling sound experimentation, with a bit more structure and recognizable pattern-shifting, and therefore a micronic shade more listenable (there are a couple of tracks of demonic laughter that even held my attention for at least 20 seconds). It’s still ridiculous, of course, with little staying power beyond the band’s next bong hit, but I’m sure mine is the minority report & these guys are setting sail to soar to sonic stardom. There are a final 5 cuts from something called “Awesome” that I can only assume are the two bands doing a tag team death march into the bowels of Hades. It sounds exactly like killer instrumental riffage blunted by pointless noise farting, or to be more precise, like OVA! dragged down by their ne’er-do-well experimental friends Happy Mother’s Day I Can’t Read. Let’s see if OVA! can light out on their own next time and bring the panic directly to the kids, because us kids today obviously need a nice big kick in the tuchus.