|©2000 Nimfoz Records
3. Falling Awake
5. Ice Cream Man
8. Grinding Empty Space
9. Little Souls
12. Tortilla Chip
13. Non Sober Sunday
14. Oral Sex
Filthy, the independent debut release from Mishap(e), a semi-industrial band out of Kenosha, WI, is simply not very good at all. It probably will never spin again, at least not in my player, unless I wish to drive away unwanted houseguests.
In all fairness, it sounds like my friend's band that he formed in high school - a handful of teenage EBM fans having a blast, farting around in someone's basement, making and recording horrible noises just for fun - but that doesn't mean it's listenable. Horrible, squalling feedback abounds; the vocals are muddy; the synths/drum machine (almost definitely Casio, judging by the timbre) and lead and bass guitars are distorted to the point of oblivion. What's more, the songs are heavily reliant on formulas first created by other bands (Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails influences are obvious) but, unlike their models' songs, there is rarely any progression within the song itself and the lyrics are, at best, sophomoric.
Specifically, "Little Souls," "Filthy," and the misogynistic "Take" sound like bad Skinny Puppy outtakes that never even made the cut for inclusion on Brap. The droning "Pornography" sounds like a C-grade Ministry track. The hyperspeed "Falling Awake" fairly reeks of NIN and could've been decent except for the execrable production. One prominent exception to the Puppy-worship is "Worthy," in which the band brings the guitars out front and makes like Nirvana. The Kurt Cobain-esque disregard for on-pitch singing is quite notable...
One of the best songs on the album, "Grinding Empty Space," is pretty dull, really - mostly a clumsily played metal riff over a mid-paced drumbeat - but it's far more "rock" than the rest of the album and stands out. Another tolerable track, "Skitzhoe," is effective in that it shows the far more effective atmospheric sound that Mishap(e) would develop on their subsequent release; however, these two cuts alone contain nowhere near enough quality to rescue Filthy from its overall wretchedness.
Based on the correspondence I've had with the band members, they seem to be nice fellows...but unless you're a friend or relative, there's little to no reason to have this album.
Review by Jonathan Arnett
Review date: 06/2001
|©2001 Nimfoz Records
4. Dim Pyramid
12. Production 1 And 2
18. Fill Me
Signed bands on major labels have released worse albums than Tholus. This, the second independent release from the Kenosha, WI, trio Mishap(e), is quite an impressive improvement over their previous work. While still apparently carving out their own style, as evidenced by the not-quite-consistent songwriting, Mishap(e), has actually learned how to write coherent songs instead of high-speed, nonstop barrages of beats with three or four notes in a higher register that repeat endlessly. (Another plus - the horrid vocals disappeared as well.) The exceptions are "Myths" and "Dim Pyramid," which sound like more skillfully-played versions of this style that Mishap(e) employed on Filthy; they should've been omitted entirely. However, the rest of the music on Tholus is much better and worth a listen or five.
Some tracks still sound very Skinny Puppy-esque, such as the bleak "Cydonia" and "Deforestation," while others effectively employ a nearly acid-house approach in their catchy grooves, such as on "Phobos" and "Architecture;" in fact, the beats on "Slur" are downright booty-licious. Many of the songs seem to inhabit a happy space somewhere between these two extremes, somewhat reminiscent of Puppy's dance-ier moments, only without the vocals and copious samples. "Mechanism," in particular, is quite compelling.
The last two tracks, on the other hand, are quite different from everything else on the album and are particularly interesting. "Rationalize" is a semi-soundscape piece - intermittent beat, building and degenerating progressions, modulations in timbre - and quite good. "Fill Me" starts out slow and employs a strong piano motif while it builds to a strong climax - but the song is cut off just as it gets really interesting. Perhaps it's a flaw in the CD-burning process of my copy, but I was bummed when the song ended so abruptly.
In the end, Tholus is a worthwhile album. It isn't great - Mishap(e) hasn't quite settled on "their" sound, most songs would benefit from more layering of sounds, and my ears desire more variation in timbre than is available from the band's Casios - but the fact that the band was able to follow up their miserable first disc with such an improved set within a year says very good things.
Review by Jonathan Arnett
Review date: 07/2001