Thursday, September 18, 2008

I know what you look like, so don't ever come near Stroud

Pitchfork, it's fair to say, isn't fond of the Airbourne Toxic Event and their self-titled album. It's not that that the site couldn't find any value in it; only that it found 1.6 marks' worth of value.

In a bid to try and look like they're taking it in good part, TATE sent an open letter in response.

It tries to adopt a "couldn't care less" attitude:

Thanks for your review of our record. It’s clear that you are a good writer and it’s clear that you took a lot of time giving us a thorough slagging on the site. We are fans of Pitchfork. And it’s fun to slag off bands. It’s like a sport — kind of part of the deal when you decide to be in a rock band. (That review of Jet where the monkey pees in his own mouth was about the funniest piece of band-slagging we’ve ever seen.)

We decided a long time ago not to take reviews too seriously. For one, they tend to involve a whole lot of projection, generally saying more about the writer than the band. Sort of a musical Rorschach test. And for another, reading them makes you too damned self-conscious, like the world is looking over your shoulder when the truth is you’re not a genius or a moron. You’re just a person in a band.

They forget, though, that "water off a duck's back" wouldn't have become a metaphor if the water splashed noisily into the pond chuntering away about how bloody brilliant it is to roll off a back and how, really, it's more about the duck than about the water.
We love indie rock and we know full well that Pitchfork doesn’t so much critique bands as critique a band’s ability to match a certain indie rock aesthetic. We don’t match it.

If this is meant to be a shrugging off, it misfires - it's like watching someone try to shrug off a rubber minidress.
It’s also true that the record isn’t ironic or quirky or fey or disinterested or buried beneath mountains of guitar noodling.

If 'Pitchfork bands' are so genre-bound (and, indeed, they may well be) and TATE aren't that sort of band, one might wonder why they're taking so much time to object to the review. Would, say, Miley Cyrus spend much time crying over a cold shoulder from Mojo?

Nobody likes to be slagged off (except for that small subset who find a sexual thrill) but, really, the way to change people's minds - if you want to - is probably to record a better record next time round.


Anonymous said...

Never mind that, tell us more about the person who was trying to shrug off the rubber minidress.


Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Send your credit card details for No Rock: Backstage and Uncut and enjoy full, streaming coverage of our metaphor testing unit. Coming next week: You can't switch a vibrator on with your teeth, no matter how hard you try.

Chris said...

I think that pushes the Youtube video of a monkey pissing into its own mouth into the number 1 slot as the most over-rated piece of music "journalism" in the history of the medium. Hooray.

Olive said...

I can't find a single word to disagree with in the Pitchfork review. To paraphrase that old "you're not paranoid..." adage, "it's not a slagging if your album truly does stink".

Anonymous said...

"Sort of a musical Rorschach test"

Aren't these the exact words that The Stranglers used to describe "Golden Brown"? I seem to recall there weren't particularly good at taking criticism either.

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