A horrible hack

To Love and To Kill

Stories Of The Old Country

Year Released: 2005
Format: CD
Label: Generic Equivalent Records
 
Reviewed by Shawn Maher on Jun 13, 2007
The most common description of the To Love and To Kill album is that it is “great music to sleep to,” which is obviously less than enticing, because “nature sounds” albums are great to sleep to as well, but who listens to those besides the Dude in The Big Lebowski while he’s smoking a joint in the bathtub? While initially the enticement was the brilliant artwork, which has become routine for every Generic Equivalent record, that puts the CD in a hollowed-out used book. Personalized and everything, with highlighted passages.

Recorded by a music community of band-mates, friends in bands, and other special guests, the release features sounds from Russia, nonsensical and unimportant conversations, performances that were largely done spontaneously and without hearing the track, and sound clips from should-have-been bands and existing bands. Instructions for Jon San Paolo’s performance on the drums can be heard during the middle of “Travel.”

During “Okeah” a Salvation Army-found dubbed tape of Stan Crump, self-proclaimed elite poet of the nineties. His instructions for writing poetry are awful and counter-artistic, which is probably the whole point of the album that is buried underneath literally at times dozens of layers of guitars, electronica, drums, bells, Russians, and children, is that art imitates life, not the other way around. Why would reading about the intoxicating sensations of sunshine be enjoyable if one did not enjoy being in the sun?

Life is often stupid, boring, repetitive, nonsensical, lazy, and sometimes exciting. So is this album. Listening to this album should feel much more natural than Weezer playing at the Playboy mansion, and it is comforting. Its first take keeper rule and disjointed yet coherent feel are like life. Reading to much into everyday life is ridiculous, much like reading too deeply into this album is ridiculous as well. The point of this album is to stop reading record reviews and just listen to music.

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