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Eat My Heart Out

Kevin Blechdom
Eat My Heart Out
(Chicks On Speed)

A friend and bandmate of mine has an old keyboard that he purchased many, many years ago at a large chain store mainly known for thier cheap clothes and hardware section. Although we've used it at different times, most of the preset sounds on the keyboard are so damn cheesy and dated that they're almost laughable. The upright bass preset sounds like a metallic rubber band twang, and it has small buttons for drum hits, handclaps, and even vocal "yeah's" and "ooh's."

The reason I mention the above is because at one point we made a joke about wondering how funky and fun of an album could be put together using only the most bizarre and dated presets on that plastic factory keyboard. Sure, it can't hold a candle to the new keyboards coming down the pipe, but there's something nostalgic and even fun trying to coax some good sounds out of it (and its built-in speakers!). If you've ever heard Kevin Blechdom, you know that she most definitely has a love for the cheesiest sounds out there and has often used them to further her musical means as she rips out lo-fi keyboard pop that makes use of synth strings, fake horns, and just about everything other wacky sound under the sun (she even has an EP called I Love Presets).

Eat My Heart Out is her second full-length proper (her first was the hilariously-titled Bitches Without Britches) and although much has already been made of the cover artwork (on which Blechdom poses topless with a sly grin and a bloody cow heart), it's the music itself where she really steps out. Nineteen tracks rip by in under forty minutes, and the release is an odd little concept album about finding love, breaking up, and all the wackiness that comes in-between. Oh yeah, and there's a lot of cheeseball-sounding keyboard flipouts.

With tracks that average about two minutes apiece, it's obvious that Eat My Heart Out isn't into extended jamming, and after a pulsing 8-bit orchestra intro, "Coming" turns into a spastic sing-along before "What You Wanna Believe" sprays synth horn blasts over sputtering lo-fi beats and giddy vocals that are all over the board. Other highlights include the cartoon sound-effect laden "The Porcupine And The Jellyfish," the banjo-infused midi-funk of "Day To Day," and the crazy dynamics of "Torture Chamber."

In other places, though, the album seems to fall back on tracks that just don't work as well. "Love You From The Heart" drops some grimey cheese funk beats alongside spoken-word samples and even-more-than-normal histronics while some short tracks like "Runaway Or Stay" don't really add anything to the release other than one minute of sound and another track index. In the hands of an adventurous theatre company, Eat My Heart Out could probably turn into the backing for a rather breakneck and over-the-top performance about relationships and all the bizarre things that they entail, but like most of her solo work (and even a portion of her collaborative work as Blechtom & Blechdom), Eat My Heart Out is an inconsistent release that at some points shows off pretty awesome compositional and writing skills while at others sorta wanks about.

Rating: 6.25