Christiansen - Stylish Nihilists (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Stylish Nihilists (2003)


It's been over a year since Christiansen released their Forensics Brothers and Sisters! EP [review here], and after hearing this album, I can't really figure out why it took so long to follow it up. Out of the 11 songs here, none have really progressed since that EP - in fact, quite a few seem dumbed down.

Christiansen's sound is harder-edged post-rock along the lines of At The Drive-In [who the band seems to be trying to duplicate more than once on this disc]. Musically, they can keep up with some of ATDI's sloppier moments, but lyrically, some of this stuff is laughable. Take one listen to "Dead Celebrities Are Amusing" or "The Middle Finger" and try not laughing at the words singer Brandon spits out with such conviction that you have to wonder how he takes himself seriously. So many of these songs include random drug, sex, and death references that it's almost sensory overload - I don't believe a word the guy is singing.

Complicating matters is the fact that the CD contains a re-recorded "Jhazz Never Spelled So Good" from said EP. My first question is "why include a song that was released over a year ago on your new release?" My second question is "if you're going to include a song off your old EP, why pick one of the mediocre ones?" Anyway.

Christiansen must've made an impact on last fall's Glassjaw/AN/Blood Brothers tour, as 'Jaw singer Daryl Palumbo guest howls on two of the songs, "Dead Celebrities Are Amusing" and "More Saints Less Musicians" [with the latter being the best song on the album]. For more Long Island cred, the band enlisted producer-of-the-minute Sal Villanueva, responsible for Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, and any other band whose record has sounded just like those in the past year or so. Stylish Nihilists is also in that category; perhaps not musically, but sonically.

I don't mean to be this harsh on the disc, though - it's not terribly bad by any means. It's a fun listen that has been in and out of my stereo a number of times over the past two weeks and while I won't recommend it to anyone, I also won't be taking my Christiansen button off my backpack any time soon.

Kentucky Goddamn
The Middle Finger

The Middle Finger