A SURPLUS OF 1 - Pyros And Unpunished Crimes

A Surplus Of 1 - Pyros And Unpunished Crimes

7 songs
25:13 minutes
Friendly Psychics


Friendly Psychics Music is an independent collective based in Ohio and Colorada. Their early releases offered all some kind of lo-fi indie rock, but a few months back, I had the pleasure to review the first outing by Unified Alarm System, the label’s first electronic band consisting of Brainswarm’s Tim Donovan and label co-owner Chris Jones. A Surplus Of 1 sees the latter acting all by himself. The seven songs on Pyros And Unpunished Crimes are evidently not that different from UAS, which I happen to prefer though.

A Surplus Of 1’s major problem is, that despite being limited to the shorter length of an EP, the music never really manages to sound cohesive. The record starts with This Week’s Featured Machine, a rhythmic experiment not unlike the Residents, which is followed by A Whistler’s German Passport, whose saxophone sample gives it a certain acid jazz touch. Knitting With Pliers takes things back to more industrial flavoured territories, before Quantified Membrane is toying once again with saxophone sounds. Being ripped thus from abrasive avant-gardism to more ambient moods makes it really hard to get into the music.

Maybe the songs should have been assembled in a different order, but maybe this is exactly what was intended by the artist. The composition of strange synthesizers, loops, samples and circuit-bent toys is of course quite intriguing, but the overall result seems in need of structure. Instead of sounding like a seamless entity, Pyros And Unpunished Crimes feels more like a collection of ideas tossed randomly at the audience.

Chris Jones, apart from being one of the label’s owners, is also active in nearly every band on Friendly Psychics Music. In the regard, he reminds me of Robert Pollard, another Ohio native, who also seems unable to find enough outlets for his creativity.

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