Reviewed by Jeremy Russell
Monday, February 14 2000, 8:59 PM
"Twenty musically incompetent and unintentionally insulting tributes to America's favorite young starlet."
The quote above, taken from the album cover, about says it all. Through turns irritating, silly, and occasionally, surprisingly, if not wholly unintentionally beautiful, FAQT magazine's new album has brought together twenty-one more or less unknown musical/noise artists to send up Christina Ricci. For what purpose and to what end I can only askwhy? Why?
I got to track three on the CD before my wife, studying in the next room, yelled: "That is so annoying!"
"I think it's kind of interesting," I called back. But I skipped to the next track ... only to discover that it was even more disjointed and ugly. I skipped again a few times until I arrived at something more even. "This is all right," I said through the wall.
"But its going to get annoying at any moment," she replied. "I can tell." And she was right.
In the end I apologized and retreated to my headphones with "Ricci's Pieces," but not before first explaining. "It's a tribute to Christina Ricci. They're some kind of noise bands, I guess."
"Great just what the world needs, more noise."
The album is irritating, there's no denying. It starts with a shrapnel-ized song in strangled Spanglish wrought by V/VM and then moves through a whining monologue set to a shrill whistle by Tranquil, with few humorous lines, that relates the story of a crazed stalker babbling about meeting his idol, Ms. Ricci. The next few songs seem to be competing for most-painful-techno nominations and have no noticeable relation of the "tribute."
The first song that I actually seem to like, is "Sugar" by Puppy, which is an enjoyably mellow drone of beeps and feedback (no connection to Christina). Precenphix hits where it counts with their excellent techno song "Iccir," (also no discernable connection to Christina). The best I can say about the next track, by Lesser, is the quoted dialogue used at the opening is funny (it may be connected to Christina, I couldn't say.) But when the song degrades into sobs, repetitious bleats and what sounds like a computer disk drive accident it gets really dull.
Suddenly arrives a crooning, Leonard Cohen-hit-by-a-train folk song by Mourning Cloak (that may or may not be meant to describe Christina." This song is cheesy, but good anyway. This is followed by more fucked-up, but clever, noise by TM and the Schoolgirlz. Their song, "Full Grown Flavour," starts with remixed movie quotes from films that starred Christina, becomes a folk song that mentions Christina, only to become a strange monologue -- "my skin is just as young as you are" - which perhaps evokes starlet imagery, and then returns to the folk song,which almost immediately collapses into a techno-industrial rock n' roll song that goes for a while and ends abruptly. Although I like this song, again I ask why?
Grunge/industrial mishaps by Oxbow, Cathars, and Zeni Geva's guitarist KK Null manage to bring the album back to the absolute irritation it sought at the outset (and I can't see how they could possibly be related to the "tribute.") Kid 606 hits with the noise, but if you can make it all the way through his song, Kid 606 ends the album with another humorous monologue (this one meant to be Christina herself leaving a message on the answering machine of an impotent lover, the morning after their tryst.)
All in all, "Ricci's Pieces" (whose cover, incidentally, looks like the logo for Riece's Pieces candy) is a very strange tribute album. But what surprises me most is how much of it is listenable, and how some of it I actually like despite myself.
Ricci's Pieces is a FAQT Magazine production