Shallow (2005) **1/2
Well, it's noisy and stupid. Those are compliments. A noise-rock amalgam of Jesus Lizard (influenzo numero uno), Melvins, Black Flag, Flipper, Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney, yadda yabba doo, it's what's you might expect from a group of young working class males from industrially depressed Allentown, PA making a drunken racket after being inspired by the World Wrestling Federation. Drop in at any random point in any random song and for about 75 seconds it's raw, sloppy, exciting rock'n'roll, the volumes pushed straight to 11 in the Blue Cheer/Spinal Tap tradition, crushing Sabbath riffs and atonally brain-damaged free jazzy guitar squeal-solos. It's all been done before and better, but if you want some fresh slop, the band live up to their name with squealing maggotry. (That's another compliment.) Problem is, oh what a difference good songwriting makes. Perhaps that's excessive praise - there is zero songwriting on this album, a wisely brief eight-song platter that splatters by in barely half an hour. It's not just that the lyrics, what little I can mercifully make out, amount to retarded banalities like "I wanna taste those boring girls," "I'm sick! I got a fever!"; it's supposed to be stoopid, moron, and a title like "Ashamed of My Cum," makes me giggle. The songs aren't as structureless and random as they appear on first listen, but they still don't seem to go much of anywhere on third or fourth listen, either. When they do keep it straightforward and simple with a blunt chorus, it's too primitive even by wrestling fan standards ("Boring Girls"). You'd figure a track like "Ugly Twin," would spend its seven minutes plus figuring out somewhere to go, but it's a dull drag; fortunately, none of the other songs are that long. Gets off to a great start, though, even if "I'm Sick" seems to owe a small debt to the Mudhoney classic of similar entitlement. Now, next time, the band might invest a little time and effort into writing some actual songs, instead of just grabbing a case of Iron City beer, plugging in, and randomly spewing squeals and distortion.