Terrific Seasons – These Are Powers

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These are Powers have been running around Brooklyn for a while now, playing the Todd P circuit, and generally spoiling the mood with their noisy, vaguely improvisational brand of noise punk. Of course mood-spoiling is the proverbial calling-card of any competent noise rock outfit, and the Powers are better at it than most: front-woman Anna Barrie's vocals are unhinged and disquieting, and the album is, for the most part, musically coherent enough not to completely lose–or completely bore–its listeners.

But for music as weird as the Powers,' such assets are double-edged. This is serviceable as noise rock, but only because it's also a blaring exercise in nihilism–the lyrics echo into nothingness (aside from a few nonsensical bits about UFOs putting volcanoes to sleep…whatever), and the band dedicates half the album to a 20-minute chunk of tuneless distortion and noise. That track, entitled “Drawing Water,” represents the Powers' at their most instantly–even obnoxiously–postmodern– “baby John Coltrane in a stroller” they may claim to be (I'm not even kidding. Check their Myspace), but the real Coltrane didn't make music that sounded like a mean case of heroin withdrawal, or at least what I would imagine a mean case of heroin withdrawal as sounding like. This is “music” flying in the face of music, or, perhaps, music flying in the face of “music,” free jazz-drone insisting you grapple with the very idea of free jazz-drone–I mean, the fuck else are you going to do for 20 minutes, anyway?

This is work that's commendable in theory, but perhaps less so in practice–plodding and atonal, the album is annoying rather than unsettling, a looping, fuzz-encrusted mish-mash rather than the expert, sledgehammer-wielding genre demolition they clearly intended it to be. They try, of course: the Powers, who are so over our outdated vocabulary for how we think about and experience music, have left old distinctions behind and describe themselves as “ghost punk.” I have no idea what this means. And after forty minutes of this stuff, I'm really not that interested in finding out.