Homespun: Skarekrauradio

The One Eyed Swine Is Queen (Apop Records)

Skarekrauradio: The One Eyed Swine Is Queen

Calling Skarekrauradio a "noise" band is unfair. Sure, noises of all kinds are employed in its quest for sensory annihilation, but not all of them are as atonal and punishing as one might think. Ambient (in fact, almost pastoral) noises, guitar mutilations and a capella campfire sing-alongs pop up — and that's all in the first movement of the lead-off track, "The One Eyed Rod Is Love." Point is, there's a lot more than mere noise at work on The One Eyed Swine is Queen, which befits a groups that considers itself a religious cult first and a band second.

Skarekrauradio delights in stretching out songs to headache-inducing levels and then turning around and spitting out a perfect (relatively speaking) pop song. "MySpace Girl" is one such song, two minutes of Evol-era Sonic Youth mixed with unintelligible, shouted vocals. That's about as straight as the band gets; the rest of the album is composed of repeated and manipulated sounds and patterns. Often the snatches of sound are either underplayed or overplayed — the dubby, industrial "Cumming" is one of the disc's best moments, but at 45 seconds, it's over before it begins. The next track, "I Can See the Wind Blowing Inside of Me," repeats the same clanging guitar chord at the same tempo for seven minutes before Kricket Greene adds her sweet-and-sour, sing-song voice. If the music can be a challenge at times (the band calls its sound "irritainment"), the CD packaging itself is beautiful, a hand-stamped outer slipcase with a stenciled cover. As an artifact, it's a perfect representation of the band: individual, handmade and not intended for mass consumption. — Christian Schaeffer

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