Ruining it for Everybody

1. Next Visible Delicious  
2. You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs' Real Voices  
3. Deodorant Can’t Fix Ugly  
4. This Head Music Makes My Eyes Rain  
5. It Is “Bro” Isn’t It?  
6. Gold Jacket, Green Jacket
7. Break It Down Camacho  
8. Stay to the Right  
9. I’m Gonna Shoot  
10. Karate Nipples
11. Button It Up  

Steven Bradley (Guitars, keyboards, samples, programming)
Krysta Cameron (Vocals)
John Ganey (Guitars, keyboards, samples, programming)
Mike "Rickshaw" Martin (Bass)
Mike Montgomery (Drums, backing vocals)

Iwrestledabearonce EP (EP 2007)
It's All Happening (2009)


Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Steven Bradley and Ryan Boesch
Additional Editing by Nicole Oliva
Mastered By Alan Douches for West West Side

Released 26/7-2011
Reviewed 5/8-2011

century media

Try to think of the most unrealistic and freaked out things you can come up with. Is it things like a piece of candy stuck inside someones eyeball in pink underwear shouting out profanities with a helium voice whilst listening to a remix tape of classic Motörhead songs? Maybe a coyote having a limbo contest with ostriches and hippos on the tallest mountain in South America to the sounds of seals mating dressed up in authentic Pirates of the Caribbean clothing? Maybe a man with scissors as hands called Edward? Or a car that can talk and get access to all kinds of things not connected to any form of network or even is electric? Or a boat called "SegamegadrivewashereuntilIcame" paddled by twenty eight duck feet instead of an engine, powered by squirrels running around in wheels and eating shellfish that they have stolen from Denmark's most famous Sushi restaurant?

All of these things might seem unrealistic and pretty strange but compared to Iwerestledabearonce and the music they play they actually seem to make sense. Not strange at all actually. Because what Iwerestledabearonce has managed to do is achieve something I honestly didn't think was possible anymore - to make music that sounds completely different to everything else you've ever heard and that has been made before. They did this on their first album and they've done it even more on this second album, which is called 'Ruining it for Everybody' and the cover artwork is a cake with some pretty unusual ingredients, looking not so appetising.

As a music critic, this is the kind of band you just can't hate. If you review music you get to hear legions of music that sounds almost exactly the same over and over and over. There's always something you'll get reminded of and feel you have heard before. That's why I love bands like In Flames and Amorphis who are bands that always reinvent themselves and the music they play to something we haven't heard before. But not even Amorphis or In Flames are specifically different to everything else. It's "just" music we have heard before played differently, not radically and groundbreaking different present music that's never been done before. But Iwerestledabearonce does that. You'll probably not recognize a single song or even a part of a song from something else. Everything on this second album is completely different from everything that exist today that I actually can't really compare it to anything you might or might not have heard that exist today. But that's when you look at the whole thing together. Break it down and you'll have much easier to find relatives for the pieces in things we've heard before. Regardless of how inventive a band is they still have to use sounds that exist because it's not likely that a band can come up with new instruments and/or sounds that never has been created before. So let's do that. Let's break it down… in a minute.

'Ruining it for Everybody' is just shy of 32 minutes and has eleven tracks that all have a runtime somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 minutes. The titles you can see on the left and if you think they are odd, just wait 'til you hear the music because that will take them a step further and beyond. I'll guarantee you that you won't feel that you needed more because after 32 minutes every brain cell in your head will spin right round, baby, right round like a record, baby, right round round round and there's a big risk for you to get illusions and delusions of things like cars actually being giant birds hiding in a shrubbery somewhere (over the rainbow) or that all flowers that has an element of cyan is actually a portal that you can enter by knocking three times at the far most eastern root and then be transported in to a snowy mountain landscape inside the third moon of Neptune.

Now to the breakdown: And let's start with the vocals, which mainly are hard, aggressive and psychedelic shouting or screams. However, there are also a soft female voice altering this shouty voice. Now some of you are probably thinking "so what? Like hundreds of other bands then!" but that's where you're wrong because on this album the dividing of vocal styles isn't what you'd call logical. Right in the middle of the aggressive notes the beauty of the fem-voice comes in with a word or two before the shouty screamo continues and that kind of way they change around throughout the album - always in different lengths and not seldom in different transitions too. Some of the songs only have the more beautiful fem-voice but in those songs there's also a big dose of voice acrobatics, almost as big as when the two styles are mixed. The vocals chords and vocal melodies are very strange and new to me and when put together with the music I definitely start to wonder if the vocals and music aren't constructed on different corners of the universe by two creatures of completely different kind that never has heard of the other and after that they've just puzzled it together the best way possible. By the way, did I mention that there's only one vocalist on this album? All vocals are done by the same female and believe me when I say that you would never guess that listening to the album. I didn't even think it was physically possible for a woman to make this kind of words from her mouth.

So, the vocals are odd. But comparing it to the music it actually seems pretty normal. Of course, I haven''t really tried to understand what the lyrics are about and I can assume they might confuse you somewhat more, but the biggest "strangeness" does however lie in the music. Looking at the instrumental division between the band members everything looks pretty normal - a vocalist, two that share the role of playing guitars and doing some samplings and then there's a bass player and a drummer. But I wouldn't really call Iwrestledabearonce as a band that creates something completely different to everything else if that was it, wouldn't I?

Even with best effort I couldn't make a fair description of this music with words shorter than the complete Bible with both testaments and with every translation ever made included. We can shorten it down by saying that sometimes it's a little bit like hardcore or metalcore or death metal or nu-metal or some kind of industrial hard rock but for most of the time it's tempo changes every second and often also some instrument is added and another taken away at every of these tempo changes. Or some samplings. Chaos is the word, but that's actually a quite unfair description since it's way too simple to really describe it. For example, there is one song that really isn't too much chaos but somewhat anchored to the world of music we know, which is the calmer and more harmonic This Head Music Makes My Eyes Rain where the tempo is lower and they only make use of the fem-voice and not in too radical vocal melodies. But this is an exception rather than a representative one because except for this you get thrown around everywhere like a pinball machine trapped in a pinball machine inside another pinball machine without any pinballs but pinball machines instead of balls and this is located at an arcade in Fukushima. For me to describe the album properly I would need a vocabulary richer than what all languages in the world can contribute with. There are psychedelic piano playing, some sounds from a computer game, some heavy guitars and drums as well as some noises that actually could come from a pinball machine. But the strangest sounds are the noises that sounds like something only a six years old could have come up with and tried making. And somewhere in the mix there are a sampling of an Elvis song or something. And some 40's movie. Does this make any sense at all? No! Not the least! Just like the entire album.

As I said in the beginning, this is something that a reviewer can't hate or dislike. It's truly something really encouraging to hear something so radically different in this day and age. But to not hate or not dislike - is that synonymous with actually liking it? Well, no. But do you, Caj, like this? No! Caj doesn't. Caj picks up a flower and sniffs it whole through his nose so it goes inside his head. Frankly, I think this album is quite annoying to lend my ears and after the 32 minutes I rather make a flower sniff up my nose than play some more of it. Play it again and you'll learn a new definition of head ache. Play the album in full twice and I'll guarantee you to have delirious illusions like Ben Affleck being a good actor. That a city actually is giants acting a Shakespeare drama. And that the cure for hunger is to put a mechanical log splitter through your ear. Like everything in life you just have to know when enough is enough and when you pass the line of something getting too much. Iwrestledabearonce pass that line by quite a margin. It doesn't end with the band name being psychopathic, the album cover being totally wacko or the song titles being completely surrealistic and strange. Iwrestledabearonce must take it one step further and make the music completely off the map. Music and vocals aren't just strange - they are beyond this planet. beyond what's ever been tried before. And if you ask me, they took it a couple of steps too far. The world is still too normal for this.

Positives with the album comes from the length, the vocals and the inventiveness. There are a lot of other positives as well. But negatives too. Especially something to tie it all together. Chaos. That's the mantra. If I had written this entire review with the exact same letters I've used now and then randomly shuffled them around so every word consisted of letters they shouldn't then it still wouldn't be as crazy as this album. With some luck you might have got some real words out of it, and actually also some pretty clever and lovely words if fate wanted it to be so. But overall it would be a pain in the ass and not very funny to read through it. And that's my opinion about 'Ruining it for Everybody'. Like they've used all these things that actually sounds quite good and then push "shuffle" and like that everything has ended up randomly. Then they pushed "finished".


Label: Century Media
Three similar bands: Sjodogg/Björk/Pinball machines <-- not a band name
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
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