Bomb the Music Industry! - Scrambles (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bomb the Music Industry!

Scrambles (2009)

Quote Unquote / Asian Man

In its essence, Bomb the Music Industry!'s arsenal of calculated bleeps, drum machines, horns and intertwined keyboards are just downright catchy, but Jeff Rosenstock won't let his precious brainchild be a victim of producing cheap thrills; he chases down infectiousness with a lyrical shot of cynicism, sarcasm and reality that hits the heart harder than wooden stakes in Salem's Lot. Trying to review Scrambles ultimately leaves my brain "scrambled"; it's undeniably Rosenstock's greatest work -- the arrangements are diverse from ska upstrokes ("It Shits!") to the comforting resonance of piano ("Fresh Attitude, Young Body") and the lyrics are more pensive than ever; personally, however, it just fails to jab me in the gut like their 2006 pinnacle, Goodbye Cool World.

Doesn't sound promising coming from me? Let me clear this up before I move on: This is a phenomenal piece of music.

As promised, Scrambles is very light on the hardcore and ska, but there is always a worthy punk cut for every non-traditional one. Rosenstock tremulously begins the record with the acoustic-based "Cold Chillin' Cold Chillin'," where the distorted vocal effects and haunting accompaniments are vaguely reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel. The respites, "Stuff That I Like" and "It Shits!" increase volume and are staple BMTI! songs, frenetic shouts, humour and all. And while "Can I Pay My Rent in Fun" may seem quite safe for them, the folk-rockish strums of "Saddr Weirdr" (which has the greatest "bleeps" they've ever done) will be quite refreshing.

Rosenstock's bane with aging continues, when shouting "get out of my way because I'm twenty-five and I still act like I'm ten!" ("25!") or "if you don't find a steady job now...if you don't find someone to love will die freezing cold and alone," it's more prevelant than ever. Likewise, his criticisms of the music scene are also present in "(Shut) Up the Punx!!!", his rant against "holier than thou" punks, where he includes some disgustingly true statements like "I think it's dumb when you take the inherently fun like riding bikes and singing songs and say they're not for everyone -- as if for your whole life you were cool as shit" in his fluent tirade.

Despite my own inability to personally connect to Scrambles (maybe a few more years under my studded belt will help), the Bomb the Music Industry! community has really outdone themselves. With flawless articulation and brilliant songwriting, Jeff Rosenstock is slowly becoming the only voice in punk that matters.