A.R.E. Weapons (Rough Trade)
By: Cam Lindsay
Right before The Strokes became the Kings of NYC, NYC's A.R.E. Weapons were turning heads with a vintage sound of their own. Their first single "Street Gang" was a blinding street anthem giving a shout out to their heroes Suicide. It was brilliant stuff, yet what took them so long with their debut album?
A.R.E. Weapons is a long delayed, long awaited record. Unfortunately, the long wait has not been worth it. The three-piece's homemade electro-punk sound has been transformed into an arena-rock, hipster frat party, complete with annoyingly silly language like the opening track's "Dude that's cool/It's fucking awesome" chant.
As well, the loud, heavy beats seem too big for the trio. "Strange Dust" is too hip-hop to take serious. Their attempts at rhyming are lacklustre and completely unbelievable. While the majority of the album is hard to believe, mainly because it seems to be about taking the piss out of any and everything, it's too much of a challenge to enjoy. The constant sway between Andrew W.K. metal ("A.R.E."), uber-cool electro ("Headbanger Face") and early Beasties-brand hip-hop ("Bad News") doesn't set them up as anything diverse, and instead makes you wonder what the hell they're trying to do.
Even the inclusion of their great, debut single is messed up, by their decision to re-record the track to make it fit in with the rest of the tracks. Even the hidden track, "New York Muscle", isn't even worth the excitement when it comes on after the final track.
Maybe I've missed the joke here, but A.R.E. Weapons just don't make me laugh the way they likely want me to. Instead of laughing with them, I can only laugh at them, for their feeble attempt with their debut album. C