Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


No ‘ifs’ about it, MSI still disturbs

Mindless Self Indulgence — or MSI, to the goth chic — is
back, and their newest album, ?if, doesn’t fail to live up to the racy
output of their past efforts. The artwork is the same, commissioned once again
from “Invader Zim” artist Jhonen Vasquez, and the songs are just as
irreverent as before. Most importantly, though, if shows the band to be just as
troubling and satirical as ever.

The first track, “Never Wanted to Dance,” kicks
off the album, disturbing listeners right off the bat. The vocals sound like
those of a pale, saucy transvestite Englishman screeching things like “I’d
rather fuck you than kiss you” in a provocative manner that generally
tries too hard to be hard. Among these vocal twangs, there is an ambience of
electronic industrial sometimes aided by the synthesizer (and sometimes not).
Actually, MSI’s best is when the synthesizer completes the track, making it
truly epic. Unfortunately, this is not present throughout the album.

Songs like “Lights Out” and “Pay For It”
are when the true MSI style comes out. Rapid rhythms easily allow the vocal
squirming of frontman Jimmy Urine to do their work. Once a general level of
whininess is achieved, there is usually a bridge or some crunching guitar or a
bridge with a really crunchy rhythm guitar.


Interestingly enough, MSI’s metal and electronica leanings
combine to form an amalgamated post-goth, Nintendocore midi effects
harmonization with the vocals. The track “Prescription” shows this
theme can work for the album. However, this instrumental-vocal collaboration
can be just plain weird, as in the very next track, “Issues.” Still,
both are unsurprisingly eerie.

MSI’s style doesn’t stray too far from the formula on their
previous album, but the band definitely manages to mix it up. Faithful fans
might find tracks like “Animal” and “Mastermind” to be
oscillating between industrial rap and punk, while “Bomb this Track”
follows this route with just a little bit of screamo.

Fans of The Faint and other industrial electronic, however,
will enjoy the second half of if. It carries a much heavier punk influence, but
few tracks ever delve into anything that truly shreds. Listeners will find some
cool Primus-like basswork by Lyn-Z on “Due,” but these soft spots
might leave some wanting more. However, the whistle melody in “Money”
is indeed money.

Overall, it seems Mindless Self Indulgence has somehow taken
everything ridiculous from the ’80s and morphed it not-so-seamlessly into the
21st century. From their cheesy appearance to the synth-rock influence all the
way down to the vocals, an undeniable absurdity is present. It’s not as though
every element of if doesn’t work — because they do. Sadly, MSI presents an
overwhelming feeling of trying too hard, and the result is a mixed bag.


3 stars out of 5

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