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Uhhh Sort Of

Applied Communications
Uhhh Sort Of
(Discos Mariscos)

The first time that I listened to this release by Applied Communications, I couldn't even make it through the whole thing without turning it off. The brainchild of eighteen year old Max Wood, Uhhh Sort Of is a melange of lo-fi production that sounds like mainly loop-based music created on a Groovebox or like instrument while Wood adds frantic, nearly stream-of-consciousness vocals that touch on everything from his own insecurity (many, many times over) to commentary on current events and dealing with being newly orphaned (he was raised by his mother, who recently died).

The album (if you can call it that, at just over thirty minutes) opens with "Do You Know What I'm Saying" and all of the above are on display as rinky-dink drum machine beats pitter patter away while kitchen sink percussion bangs away and a buzzy synth provides the bassline. Wood rambles and rambles over it all, veering from self-deprication (he starts the song by saying "I can't play any instruments") to juvenile rants ('fuck reality TV / fuck the internet' is another pointed line). "It Bothers Me It Bothers You I Snore" opens with a blast of lo-fi noise and soon loops into a staggered drum loop and out-of-sync arpeggios while Wood rants and screams like he's having a breakdown.

The album basically continues through several variations of lo-fi noise and bizarre experiments, and armed with the knowledge about his mother the release really does feel like the pure outpouring of mixed-up feelings that one might have if they were in his position. "There's A Reason This Is Such A Cliche" is all electronic blips and what sounds like the sample of an indie-rock band playing in the distance while Wood continues his half-spoken, half-yelling vocals that are often double-tracked to add even more of a disorienting feel. That said, Uhhh Sort Of is rarely very enjoyable to listen to and the clever lyrical and musical turns are often offset by nearly unlistenable ones. The album may very well be one of the better musical embodiments of what's going on inside the head of a very tormented young man.

Rating: 3.5