Thursday, 26 February 2015


"making bones"
Year:    1998
Country:    UK
City:    London
Label:    Warp
Format:    CD, LP
Tracks:    10
Time:    55 min.
Genre:    electronic
Style:            Breakbeat            Downtempo

Upon listening to Our Aim is to Satisfy Red Snapper, I went back to Making Bones, the group's last release, to make sure I hadn't underestimated it. Like everybody, I occasionally dismiss a record and find out later that I kind of like it. I remembered that I didn't think much about Making Bones when I reviewed it way back in 1998, and Our Aim is to Satisfy sounded good right out of the blocks. A quick listen to Making Bones eased my mind: it's not terrible, but it sounds pretty average. This year's model is anything but. The songwriting is sharper, the sounds are more varied, and there is barely any British-accented rapping (an extreme and possibly xenophobic personal bias). Oddly, the thing that keeps this band from greatness is their insistence on a live rhythm section. I never could have imagined myself saying such a thing five or six years ago. Back then, I always wanted drums to sound live, even if I knew they were sampled. I liked a certain amount of electro and '80s pop, but the sound of drum machines in general turned me off, especially when there was no "song" working as a counter. But having ingested so much digitally-based music over the last couple of years, I've come to appreciate the expressive power of the computer. Red Snapper's drum sound and the stand-up acoustic bass are very similar on most of their tracks (also the problem with my once-beloved Soul Coughing), and it now strikes me as a limitation. Still, there's much on Our Aim is to Satisfy to love. The first track, "Keeping Pigs Together," sets the tone. An instrumental (my favorite kind of Red Snapper track), the song borrows its chords from U2's lovely "October," adding a churning beat beneath to drive home the plaintive melody. Soon, the disc rolls into "Some Kind of Kink," wherein Red Snapper bring the funk with two basslines at work: one owes a lot to the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money"; the other works its scholarship for the Roni Size Brown Paper Bag School of Slippery Acoustic Drum-n-Bass. Tack on a pounding snare, a spooky synth refrain, and some pinched, stanky vocals right out the 1970s and you got yourself a killer track (* Review by Merle Haggard ).
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