Reviewed: Revision Text’s Modern Science

 

photo of Revision Text courtesy of MySpace

photo of Revision Text courtesy of MySpace

 

Words by Allen Cote

Hey kids, do ya like dancing? You like rock n’ roll? Got a lot of feelings you don’t quite know what to do with?

The boys in Revision Text will take care of that for you. Somehow, pathos and partying have never gone together quite so well as they do on the new album Modern Science (not to mention loneliness and co-dependence; sensitivity and sonic brutality; technological mistrust and ultimate resignation to the onward march of Progress). Not that Revision Text necessarily subscribes to the cynical “fuck it – let’s get drunk” attitude of many contemporaries — far from it.

There are some heady themes here (and some lyrics three syllables too large to be recognizable to a fan of Andrew W.K. (for example), but damn, is the Text’s rhythm section ROCK SOLID. The title track queries “where are your miracles/where is your logic?” – all the while your shaking ass responds “who cares?”  The great irony of the album lies in the lyric “you can’t count on the radio,” and yet every song sounds like it was tailor-made for your local alternative-schlock station. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it seems somewhat disingenuous. In the age of ubiquitous bedroom studios, sonic fidelity and instrumental mastery are refreshing and the guitar tones on the recording are genuinely attractive and interesting; the drums are crisp and on the beat (every beat), the bass slaps you in the face and the stomach, the vocals are intelligible (only distorted when intentional) and horror of horrors, the keyboard player uses varied patches, knows how to play, and does so tastefully.

Here and there the band even sneaks in some instruments one would never expect to hear in a rock record (is that a melodica on “Loose Threads”?!). Despite all of this, one occasionally gets the feeling there is far more style than substance to this affair – though songs such as “Fallen Landmarks” using the science theme to great effect and breaking desire down into components “electrical in nature/chemically unstable”. The occasional overly emotive vocals seem superfluous against screaming guitars and threaten to upset the healthy balance between heart and head (tempting one to fall into the sort of hedonistic youthful angst that gave rise to the cultural black hole known as the 90’s).

That having been said, the style is extremely seductive – even the packaging is kickass (for those of us who remember when Apple Macintosh was, literally, square), with a faux 5”  floppy diskette housing the CD, hand-numbered in a limited run of 500. And although many of us left our angry young selves at the last WTO protest we attended in college (when law school started looking more and more like a better alternative to mace), everyone needs a little catharsis every now and then.  I imagine these songs translate much better live, especially in a sweat-shop like Cactus Club; and with the equally-as-loud (if not ten times louder) Father Phoenix on the bill, Revision Text is sure to shake some rafters. Just do yourself a favor, kids: don’t stop dancing, and never look up.

Revision Text’s self-titled album was released last spring. The band opens up for Father Phoenix and Oh My God this Friday at The Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth) at 10 p.m. 21+

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