Drop Out

16 - Drop Out ©1996 Pessimer Records
1. Trigger Happy
2. Pumpfake
3. Tocohara
4. Sniper
5. Felecia
6. Fucked For Life
7. Bloody Knuckles
8. Butterfly Labes
9. Seeds And Stems
10. 16

Drop Out doesn't quite make the grade. Whether 16 were trying too hard or not trying enough is irrelevant, I believe, given my overall reaction is one of being underwhelmed. Their influences, namely Kyuss, Helmet and a dash of groovecore, are evident, and they wear them well. The songs are structurally sound and they show an occasional aptitude for violent aural plundering. So why exactly does 16 fail to delight? It sounds de-spirited. Drab. Not the sort of dreariness a band like The Obsessed would align their compositions to intrinsically and thus deal wholesale, but defeat: in a word, fatigue. A sad man singing a boring song has miles as long as we know the deal. But a bored man singing a sad song is fakery, a ruse, and unknowingly or not, devours itself. 16 hang around the latter, as a young band sans niche may, yet show promise with pillaging numbers such as "Tocohara" and "Trigger Happy". Consistent with the current raison d'etre of many a underground American noise/grind acts, 16 also endorse the use of hard drugs, both in song and liner, through sticky layers of irony. This is also referred to by me as the Balless Manuever, as any lying charlatan can dwell in gutless hypocrisy while waving flags of irony, courting soil on both sides of the fence, relinquishing responsibility to either dichotomy. Over-analytical, you may argue, and downright cynical, but I can't escape my nature. If 16 did as many drugs as they lead us on about, they wouldn't be functional as human beings, let alone the capacity to meticulously record an album. They're lying, see? Anyhow, 16 play a gluey grind that has been filed under the posi-center of my cerebal cortex, and I do like Drop Out for the most part, but as it stands, AD99, the record doesn't have legs to really stick like the great ones. Here's to hoping. Here's to untapped potential.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 08/1999

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