Screen Vinyl Image

51:21 Review

We got a review in for our cassette 51:21. It’s available on our Bandcamp page, but quantity is very low, these are going super fast! You can, however, order it digitally from Bandcamp or iTunes, Amazon, etc.

51:21 Reviewed on The Real Music

Let’s get right to it, in order to satisfy me with your guitars (i.e. make me stare like a moron), the best thing is to basically do the most wrong and extreme things with them, as loud as possible. This is what I enjoy doing and what I enjoy listening to. My father would be so proud. 51:21
is a compilation put together by Screen Vinyl Image, a group of people
from Washington, DC who seem to take pride in this strange practice for
strange people. “Another bunch of dropouts with too many fuzz pedals”,
you might say, but SVI seem to be part of that group who give that scene
a good name.

From the get-go, 51:21
intoxicates me. “Too Much Speed” is a manic blend of steady, smooth
vocals, sampled beats, keyboard harmonies and noise guitars working as
an undercurrent. It’s almost like a hazy explosion, but firmly held
together. “Stay Asleep” is a mellower, New Order-ish take on the same
formula, but turns into a pulsating, organic wall of noise and samples
that lasts longer than the actual song, very meditative.

The remainder of the album is the inclusion of their debut EP, The Midnight Sun,
which is a fresh blend of Manchester scene-influenced electronica and
shoegaze. Overall it’s a throbbing, noisy package of programming and
screaming instruments, with space for more mellow numbers like “Roaming
Spirit Freedom”. However, “The Midnight Sun” would have to be the
highlight here. It’s a sexy, druggy blend of sampling, a strange bass
line, and guitars that actually seem to only feedback. Two minutes into
the track I kind of forgot what I was doing in the first place, and
started playing visions of streetlights and open fires in my head. Take
that completely as you will. The EP ends with a short punk length number
called “Black Leather Jacket”, in which the guitars have completely
resorted to sounding more like a machine than an instrument, leaving a
taste of blood in my mouth and ears.

The
title track that ends the album is a live recording in which the band
resort into full-blown jam mode. It sounds a lot more like Throbbing
Gristle than Grateful Dead, however. It starts out nice enough with a
bit of industrial sounding percussion loops and organs, but then the
first attack of feedback erupts. From that moment forward, we are
in deep, murky territory. Sometimes there’s an actual song being played,
and it’s always beautiful and on par with the rest of the album, but in
between them there’s a lot of blissful noise; see Skullflower or
Birchville Cat Motel. There’s obviously no way that I wouldn’t like
that.

Look,
I already stated that there’s nothing new whatsoever with the whole
“pop music through massive noise” thing that’s been going on for over 20
years now, but it works, dammit. At its best, it completely numbs all
of my senses, and 51:21 did a pretty good job of this.

Back