Damnit. I hate being let down. I suppose I could end the review there, but then this never get posted, would it?
New Jersey’s own the Number Twelve Looks Like You, newly signed to Eyeball Records, have become one of the country’s forefront “nü-grind” bands since the release of their debut monster, Put On Your Rosy Red Glasses. After about two years of minimal action, word escaped that the band had signed to a new label, was putting out a teaser EP, and, ultimately, Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear., the album currently under scrutiny. Calling me excited would be quite the understatement, especially concerning the overall quality of “Clarissa Explains Cuntainment” and “Like A Cat,” so naturally I expected this to be quite the behemoth of an album. Some would say that I dug my own grave with my high hopes; I’ll let you be the judge of that.
At first glance, everything on Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear. seems to be intact: the shrieking dual vocals by people who sound as if they really do want your fucking blood, rapid-fire drumming and double bass, and swirling, noodling guitars, ready to stop on a dime and play something completely contrary to what they had previously been performing with exact precision. So what’s the deal? Here’s how I choose to analyze the situation: I feel as if the band has gotten increasingly self-aware, resulting from the insane amounts of attention they have received as of late. When you talked about nü-grind, you talked about the Number Twelve. Their shows were packed. They’ve got a new label. It all fits. But the kicker, however, is how drastically their musical performance has changed. Read on.
The album starts off with an absolute bang, which was to be expected. The opening triumvirate of “The Devil’s Dick Disaster,” “Texas Dolly,” and “Clarissa Explains Cuntainment” is pretty much unparalleled as far as all sub-genres of hardcore music goes. However, as Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear. progresses, the music actually digresses. The middle of the album feels about an hour long, book-ended by two five-plus minute pieces, the latter of which being “Remembrance Dialogue” is downright offensive. It’s a seven-minute “epic” of a three-minute minimalist introduction and four more minutes of a boring riff being built up to something which is supposed to resemble a climax, but instead comes off as the same boring riff, only played at full power. It doesn’t help that the only lyric appears to be “This is our remembrance dialogue,” which adds to the boredom. So much could have been done to make this song great, but it feels as if they band dragged their feet with this one. The same can go for the overall slowed-down feel of the album, with more focus on brooding solos and instrumentation than vicious brutality, which the band had pretty much perfected. The band has lost their focus, and it is extremely obvious, as well as extremely disappointing.
To be brutally honest, the last third of the album is so unimpressive that I have tried to pick up on what makes each song stand out, and been stymied thus far, forgetting the songs five minutes later, remembering only that the closer, “Catagory,” starts off strong but succumbs into a faux-dance beat and a two-minute acoustic outro which sounds rather lame.
This album doesn’t completely suck. There are some obviously spectacular standouts, but the glaring defects are too much to ignore. It’s downright aggravating how disappointing this album is, especially considering how strongly it starts off. Nothing more can be said besides the fact that the Number Twelve Looks Like You have gotten extremely self-conscious, and their music has suffered as a result. It doesn’t suck, but you could look elsewhere.
“The Devil’s Dick Disaster”
“Clarissa Explains Cuntainment”
“Like A Cat”