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Kevin Blechdom - Eat My Heart Out

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Artist: Kevin Blechdom

Album: Eat My Heart Out

Label: Chicks on Speed

Review date: Aug. 25, 2005

The thing that was always great about the now-defunct San Francisco duo Blectum from Blechdom was their insistence on testing familiar boundaries in bizarre, unpredictable ways. Mingling high and low arts and classes, Blevin and Kevin crafted a series of surreal, low-tech electronic records that were rhythmically propulsive, melodically and harmonically rich, and packed with songs and skits about pornographically violent made-up animals. And live, they managed to transcend the mind-numbing boredom that often accompanied other similarly inclined artist's performing natures. Since the pair split a few years back, they have each gone on to lead rather disparate solo careers. Kevin Blechdom's seems more in-line with her former duo's more absurdist tendencies, and her first full-length Bitches Without Britches, while not entirely consistent, held enough surprises and instrumental oddities to make for a pretty worthwhile listen.

Eat My Heart Out most assuredly stems from that same impetus to test whatever demarcations have been thrown down in electronic and pop musics. However, based on the cheesy synths, histrionic vocals, and utterly banal songcraft, her latest disc for the Chicks on Speed imprint seems mostly preoccupied with cooking up the worst possible batch of songs, thereby pushing the limits and conceptions of what constitutes taste and/or listener endurance and/or general schmaltz. And with photographs featuring Blechdom clutching a bloody mess of animal innards while buck naked, it's a fair assumption that she's angling for the same aesthetic visually. At least we have that confluence to go on.

Songwise, this is a tough listen. It's easy to make it through a couple of tracks worth of cheap keyboards and rubbery drum machines, but going further than that requires a patience which I just don’t possess. Make no mistake, Blechdom seems to be giving it her all. However, what constitutes "all" - in this case, a point by point tread through a variety of familiar styles (including a half lame, half obnoxious aggro-rap rock track that isn't even the low point on the album) - is barely of remote interest. Honestly, if this is an indictment of certain tropes, they're ones that people take pains to avoid for reasons that become glaringly apparent throughout the course of this record. At times it comes close to sounding like some bizarro-land version of "Weird" Al Yankovic, albeit one that makes it kind of hard to tell if the performer is kidding or not. This may actually be a back-handed insult to the creator of such classic jams as "Eat It" and "Dare To Be Stupid." I haven't really decided yet.

By Michael Crumsho

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