Rating: 5 / Format: CD / Label: Paw Tracks

Years ago (honestly, I was young once) a picture, culled from i-D magazine, of Black Dice adorned my bedroom wall. I hadn’t even heard their music but they looked cool. Especially Eric Copeland with his mesh truckers’ hat, yelling into some antique microphone whilst a tape-to-tape machine loomed nonchalantly just in shot. Painfully cool. A year later I bought Beaches and Canyons on double vinyl. What an awesome album. Pure sonic noise bliss shot through with heart and soul; louder than love and warmer than a bonfire. I got into their earlier, thrashy, post-hardcore schlock too. Interesting, if only to show how far this band had come. Since Beaches… it’s been nothing but heartache. The worst kind of hipster-noise: like Nathan Barley getting into Throbbing Gristle. That album with the woman’s ass all up in your face for DFA says it all.

I had high hopes for Eric Copeland’s solo effort. I don’t know why. Probably that perverse endorsement from Alan McGee (!) about Copeland’s solo work being amazing. McGee is clowns’ shoes personified, granted, but he knows a good tune. Alas, Alien in a Garbage Dump is basically the same aural slop that Black Dice have been mucking out to fans of pretentious music since they got rid of their live drummer, Hisham Bharoocha (a.k.a. Soft Circle). Shards of digitally refracted organic mulch drifts in and out, teasingly close resembling something akin to a tune but never quite managing it. For example, ‘King Tits Womb’. What could have been an awesomely righteous slab of un-phunky lo-fidelity P Funk just blobs along like a Bootsy Collins bass loop with nowhere to call home.

The rest of the album is equally joyless – embarrassing experiments with reggae, psychedelia and other genres you’d expect an intelligent and talented soul like Copeland to have some understanding of. It’s irritating. Like getting a cold in August is irritating, or having to sit through a Squarepusher bass solo is irritating, or receiving a text message from your phone company instead of your girlfriend is irritating. Shame.

Rich Hanscomb

Eric Copeland myspace



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