Music Reviews
You Were a Dick

Idaho You Were a Dick

(Talitres) Buy it from Insound Rating - 5/10

Oh Boi-se, Idaho, what have you done here? This, the eighth offering for the Los Angeles-based group, takes the loosely-bound genre of “sadcore” to entirely new lows, but that’s not such a bad thing given its alignment with frontman Jeff Martin’s artistic intent. In fact, it encapsulates what may as well be the state capitol of this Idaho album: Irony. Despite the consistently subdued and mannerly sound, everything about You Were a Dick teems with the extreme.

For one, each composition is extremely downtrodden. It’s slower than the soundtrack to a Quaalude binge heard from the user’s perspective. It drags and sputters more than a slow-motion stutterer. Even tracks that should display a pulse (see The Space Between) languish and enter the ears definitively dead-on-arrival. That makes the album title extremely ironic. Beneath its aggressive and confrontational façade are placid melodies and sissy-boy lyrics espousing existential ideas of love and loss. Is the operative title word Were? Is this some sort of take on "The Metamorphosis:" From man to bug, from Dick to…less evolved dick? The answer may or may not be extremely profound, but one thing is extremely obvious: this album is extremely unsatisfying.

Great, truly great, records are at once transformative and timeless. They exploit an emotional niche and magnify the sensation through memorable moments that linger long after the spinning stops. You Were a Dick accomplishes precisely half of this. Its sound is well developed and deliberate, and it could be remarkably effective if properly utilized.  But it's not.  Instead, an unnecessarily broad array of instruments meanders aimlessly through the sonisphere in search of something tangible to grasp, and rarely is anything found. Weigh it Down is a refreshing exception, but much of the album is light on structure and drifts into immediate obscurity. Genres aside, even more avant-garde artists like Flying Lotus manage to implant infectious elements into their soundscapes that reward undivided attention. 

The final bit of irony here is that You Were a Dick could actually be directed at Idaho themselves. Nebulous songwriting lulls the listener into a melancholic haze that lifts with utter inconsequence and minimal takeaways. That, from a listener’s perspective, is extremely impolite.