April 3, 2003

Test Spin: Baptist Generals

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I thought I liked The Baptist Generals’ new album, No Silver/No Gold, until I realized that I hated it. Hated, hated, hated it. The second album from the Denton, Texas band is an exercise in musical con artistry; its basic guitar progressions and dashed-off lyrics are a gob of spit in the face of every earnest indie kid who buys whatever Pitchfork proclaims to be good, like so many ironically-clothed sheep. I cannot imagine anyone listening to this album for pleasure. Singer Chris Flemmons’ voice is a cross between Neil Young and the Emergency Broadcast System; he whines for 45 minutes about alcohol and despair like a mental patient at a musical therapy class. Flemmons is going for a lo-fi Mountain Goats/Neutral Milk Hotel vibe — but he forgot to include the things that make those bands’ albums good, such as musical competence and lyrical maturity. It’s a hard album to listen to — not challenging hard, but physically hard, as in the brick wall that I wanted to slam my head into after I finished this album. Indie cred is well and good, but this emperor has no clothes and this album has no musically redeeming value. Buy it if you need a soundtrack to commit suicide to, but you’ll get more enjoyment out of setting the twenty-dollar bill on fire and watching it burn, I guarantee it.

Archived article by Justin Peters