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First Reflections

Edie Sedgwick
First Reflections
(Mud Memory/Dischord)

I review a lot of drum and bass electronic music on this site, but Edie Sedgwick are an honest-to-goodness duo who play a madcap mixture of post-punk tracks that lyrically revolve around movie stars. Yeah, it sounds pretty damn weird, but even the name they've taken for their group (a model/actress/hanger-on of Andy Warhol who ultimately died of an overdose at age 28) belies some of their point, which is that you can make a statement in really not making a statement at all. In fact, they seem to sort of revel in the absurdity of it all, singing songs about actors and actresses while including sort of a mini-manifesto about themselves inside the album sleeve.

As I mentioned above, there are 13 tracks on First Reflections, and when you first read the back of the album and list of song titles, you might think that it's a joke. The first 3 tracks on the disc in order are "Faye Dunaway," "Sean Connery," and "Winona Ryder" and are written and spit out in almost a haiku-like manner by singer Justin Moyer (who also plays bass in the group). If you think that it's a gimmick, well it might just be, but it's one that works because it manages to be obtuse both lyrically and sonically. If you didn't even see the names of the songs, the lyrics are well enough written that they're interesting and tell stories (perhaps reminding you of someone you know as well), but when you do see the titles, you can pull out little obscure references to physical traits or specific movies that make a lot more sense.

Like a lot of other two-piece bands, one of the key things that the group does to make things interesting is mess with pacing all the time and offset the bass and drums like a slightly more cohesive Storm and Stress or a more rambunctious jazz (minus a lot of the instruments). Also, the group doesn't completely limit themselves to just the two instruments and vocals, and instead sprinkle in other little things like chimes and sound effects once in awhile just for good measure. On top of that, Moyer ranges from crooning to yelping and it works to help give the different songs a quite different flavor (after all, they're about different people).

While some tracks are more biting in their humor, some feel like actual heartfelt tributes, and instead of lingering on too long, the group instead makes brevity the choice. So much, in fact, that the album clocks in at under 30 minutes. One of the only problems with the disc is that despite the best efforts of the group, several of the songs just end up sounding sort of the same. It's definitely not for everyone, but there's definitely fun to be had.

Rating: 7.25