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celebrating indie music

"A few of their songs remind me of the ambient band William Shatner had with Ben Folds and some crazy broad with a tambourine."
By Kristyn Cunningham
email :: avaricemurony
Ronis Brothers
Radio Friendly Ronis
"I'm amazed I made it through the whole thing. "

By Kerry Ann Wall
email :: opheliainflames

Favorite Tracks:

>> In The Ghetto

>> Don't State the Obvious

>> Cigarette Stink

Before you even put this disc into your player, you have to be made aware of something really vital to this CD. The members of this band have a phenomenal sense of humor. After listening to this disc and looking at their website, I'm starting to wonder if maybe at least part of this disc is supposed to be one colossal joke. Once I realized that I needed a sense of humor to appreciate this album, I started laughing hysterically along with this CD. The lyrics, like, "I want to fuck your pretty mouth" and a song sung boisterously by white boys about living in the "GHE-ttoooo" are what make this CD really great. There are, of course, more serious tracks, but the beginning of the CD starts with a big laugh.

It's hard to describe the sound of the Ronis Brothers. A few of their songs remind me of the ambient band William Shatner had with Ben Folds and some crazy broad with a tambourine. It's definitely not a sound for everyone, that's for sure. But for those of you who have a sense of humor and like ambient/techno meshes, this is definitely an album for you. This album is a combination of rap, techno, punk, and rock and roll. I don't think you could really categorize any of these songs.

Production-wise, it isn't mixed the best and that's probably the number one turnoff of the entire album. I take into account that these gentlemen probably couldn't afford to pay for high quality production, but it sounds like it was recorded in a tiled bathroom, the vocals bouncing high off the rest of the song.

And it's not that this band isn't talented, because they are. They're talented because none of their songs can be put into one particular genre- their sound is consistently different. And they're definitely having fun doing what they do- I don't think they care much about success, fame or accolades. They're just in love with making fun music, and that's something to be admired.

Truth told, though?
Their website freaks me out something fierce.

And let me talk a little bit about what I don't like about this album. Other than its production, it sounds a little like 3 robots recorded it. There's so much distortion and unnatural effects, you kind of get this feeling of being stuck underwater in a bad techno club after awhile. Each song individually is really fun to listen to, but when these songs are all put onto one disc, it's kind of an overwhelming feeling. I was kind of put into a trance by this CD- and not a good, happy meditation on the beach kind of trance, but a strange, I've been tripping on acid for too long kind of trance. At first the CD is fun and amusing to listen to, but as time goes on the bizarre songs really start to grate on your nerves. And any song, like "True Beauty", that just clips quotes from movies and loops them over and over is a song that makes me want to hurt either others or myself.

If this album were more like 10 songs, or even a 5 song EP, it probably would have scored higher with me. But considering that there are 15 tunes that stop being funny and start becoming obnoxious at about song 8, I have to give it a 2/5.

Favorite Tracks:

>> Don't State the Obvious

>> Pigs on the Wing

>> Pins Through Your Wings

I don't think I've ever been more disturbed by one album.

The 15-song disc is certainly one of the most original albums I've heard. Its subject matter is unique and creatively chosen. Its musical arrangements are quaint. The mixing is clear and crisp.

It did, however, sound like a cross between a porn soundtrack and old arcade music mixed with vocals that had been terribly overproduced. The vocals are distorted by a heavy echo effect that makes the lyrics unintelligible. Not only are they often impossible to understand, the vocals also seem out of place on top of the unconventional rhythms. The vocals usually aren't in time with the percussion and musical accompaniment, which creates a weird kind of syncopation. Sometimes the vocals don't even seem to be in the same key as the accompaniment, though, which makes the songs hard to listen to.

The background music isn't much better than the vocals, though it's easier to hear these nuances and subtleties than those of the lyrics are. There's also an air of inconsistency that makes the album hard to listen to. Sometimes the percussion sounds crisp and polished - other times it sounds like the synthesized percussion you'd expect from an 8-bit video game.

Don't State the Obvious was definitely one of the better songs - the echo-effect on the vocals has been tuned down drastically and I liked the song's sense of dialogue. It also seems to be one of the only songs that actually goes somewhere. The others (especially songs like True Beauty and PPV) don't seem to tell a story like this song does.

I also liked Pins Through Your Wings even though it's a prime example of the mismatched rhythm and lead parts that I mentioned earlier. The vocals, which sound like a 50s-style ballad, give the song a sort of 'retro' feel that distracts the listener from the awkwardness of the rhythm.

One of the final songs on the album is a cover of Pink Floyd's acoustic Pigs on the Wing. The Ronis Brothers' version is close to the original in most respects, aside from the use of electric guitar instead of acoustic, the additions of a few bars between verses and the use of the reverb on the vocals. It's somewhat less annoying on this song, though, and it actually seems to work in parts. The lyrics are still hard to understand, though, and I get the feeling that if I didn't already know the song I'd have just as hard of a time following along.

The album's subject matter ranges from the completely bizarre (True Beauty) to the unexpected (Diary of a Collegiate Sports Star, Will Work For Food). Songs like Various Stages of Undress approach the issue of sex in an extremely baffling way and could probably offend everyone who hears them at least once. The lyrics are often spoken and don't add much to the musical quality of the songs.

The Ronis Brothers' song structures don't seem to go anywhere, which wouldn't be as much of a problem if most of the songs were under four minutes.

I couldn't listen to some of the songs all the way through and wanted to skip to the next one even with just a few seconds left.

I'm amazed I made it through the whole thing.

Current Mood: crazy crazy
Current Music: "What Will You Say" by Jeff Buckley

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