Ergo Phizmiz, “Food & War”

April 3, 2012
By Jordan Anderson

This is a slight release that is built out of two brief versions of a nursery rhyme-like song from Phizmiz’s debut album. The first version is created from out-of-tune guitar playing and multi-tracked vocals and sound effects taken from a Warner Bros. cartoon.  There were times listening to the music here when I wished the songwriter had simply dropped the twee presentation and better worked out his song; unfortunately, the disparity between what the singer seems to be attempting to present the music as, and what the music actually is, is too great to allow the listener to seriously sustain their attention — there is a pretentiousness and preciousness going on that overwhelms what little structure is already on display.

The flip side and its jokey, punk-style rendering by R. Stevie Moore of the same song has a harsh, compressed recording style (the electric guitar has the abrasive sound of an instrument run directly into a four-track) and a lack of seriousness that makes the song lack depth.  This is not to say that humor can’t work in music, but in this instance there isn’t enough substance to support the offhandedness the humor gives to the performance.

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