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Stephen Brodsky - The Black Ribbon Award (Cover Artwork)

Stephen Brodsky

Stephen Brodsky: The Black Ribbon AwardThe Black Ribbon Award (2008)
Hydra Head Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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Stephen Brodsky may be one of the most prolific songwriters operating on an utterly non-mainstream level, but like any good-natured artist who lets his thoughts and ideas stream freely from his consciousness, dude sometimes suffers from a serious lack of creative control. His 18-song debut under .


Stephen Brodsky may be one of the most prolific songwriters operating on an utterly non-mainstream level, but like any good-natured artist who lets his thoughts and ideas stream freely from his consciousness, dude sometimes suffers from a serious lack of creative control.

His 18-song debut under the new Stove Bredsky moniker, The Black Ribbon Award is a 55:55 collection of tunes Brodsky wrote in the `90s but only recently got around to recording. Sometimes enjoyable but often middling, The Black Ribbon Award largely comes off like acid-soaked late Elliott Smith recordings spun through early Sub Pop sobriety.

The early portion of the record immediately serves forth proof of these inconsistencies. "Dead of Winter" and "May Fly" bear interesting sonic nuances thanks to the record's production (which ranges from the brooding, jagged lo-fi style sketches of From a Basement on the Hill to the claustrophobic echo and sneer of old Modest Mouse records), but the fuzz and bass dirge of the four-minute "Dead Battery" gets old fast. "Spacegirl Saturn" cough up a few bright moments, but otherwise floats by innocuously.

Later on, Brodsky gets his trippy Beatles fetish on with "Rainbow No More." The next few songs provide the album's curious aesthetic to a decent degree, but the songwriting can't push through to make much of a dent. "The Coattail Rider" merely squeals and squalors by, while "Chine" alternates between unsettling choral cooing and Brodsky's disgruntled, muttering acoustic-picked narratives. Like its flimsy intro, the album closes with a flittering instrumental involving acoustic strums and shots of spacey, sparse electronic skittering.

The Black Ribbon Award isn't quite the one-man trip I'd expect after such solid efforts from Brodksy as the Pet Genius or Octave Museum records, occasionally unfocused and too often mere white noise.

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The Black Ribbon Award

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
BarkleyTheSecondComing (July 10, 2008)

Kid Kilowatt is pretty darn good. I agree. Doesn't stand up to any clean singing era cave in stuff but still awesome. I didn't mind pet genius but I think the more psych that our boy steve gets the less I like it. That cave in converge record would have been amazing..sigh

johnnydanger (July 9, 2008)

I have yet to find anything made by Cave In, or a member of Cave In that isn't at least a "7/10". By far the most underrated Cave In project is Brodsky's Kid Kilowatt. Anyway as far as this album, I'm hooked, absolutely in love with it. I'm a Brodsky fanboy but these were some really refreshing, fun songs

mattp330 (July 9, 2008)

its funny, i have all the later era cave in stuff, including jupiter, but just haven't heard much of the "old" sound

tenwestchaser (July 9, 2008)

Pick up "Until Your Heart Stops"? Um....totally! One of my favorite Cave In releases and certainly my favorite of their "heavier" tunes. That cd rips.

LORD-OF-THE-GAYS (July 9, 2008)

Every Cave In record up to and including Jupiter is well worth your time. I'd have to say that everything after that is very boring.

DrGunn (July 9, 2008)

no, you should pick up jupiter which is a perfect album. with perfect vocals.

i will probably get this. i like brodsky's solo stuff.

branden (July 9, 2008)

i got jupiter a couple months ago, and i thought it was so awesome for the first five weeks or so. and then it hit me, i cannot stand this guys voice. he sings like a jackass.

mattp330 (July 9, 2008)

i've been checking out alot of hydra head bands and old cave in. should i pick up a used copy of "until your heart stops"?

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