A New Hope: Less Rock, More Talk
Reviewed by Megan Shaw
Thursday, July 30 1998, 2:14 PM
Less Rock, More Talk has promise, but overall lacks consistency of depth, coherency of theme, and quality of production value. The record begins promisingly with Maximum Rock and Roll columnist Mykel Board's self-referential piece about spoken word artists which comes off as a spoof the diction of fellow contributor Jello Biafra. The Noam Chomsky piece is predictably educational and disturbing; he gives a history lesson on the origin of propaganda as a legitimate American political tool in the revolutionary war era, and the upper class values of our "founding fathers". But the brilliance of Chomsky's lesson fails to outweigh the big disappointment on this record, the poor quality recording of three short pieces by Scottish writer Tom Leonard. I really looked forward to hearing Leonard's views on British politics, but the recording quality was so bad that Leonard was largely unintelligible. Former Swans singer M. Gira's "My Birth" was extremely disturbing. Presented as a spoken word piece describing the grisly, bloody birth of MTV from Mother Television, this monologue made me wonder if it was supposed to be art just because it is repulsive. It also made me wonder whether it would be possible to create a monologue like this one without drawing on an authentic hatred of motherhood and childbearing. I fail to see what is political, much less artistic, in prompting such a train of thought.
AK Press Audio/Allied Records, 1997