This evening I had the fortune – or rather misfortune – of being subjected to Vulcanodon’s most recent EP called Tar Pit. As they have described themselves on their MySpace page, they sound like “[a] massive herbivorous Memenchisaurus, stomping along in the cretaceous jungle, entering a clearing and finding a T-Rex scrapping with a Gigantosaurus.” For those of you who quit reading after the word “massive”, I’ll rephrase: “we sound like your typical indie punk band that has slept on the same street corner for the past 5 weeks and owns 19 pairs of ripped up khakis which are all stored in the single mountain-climbing rucksack perched upon our backs.”
After attempting to force myself to listen to just one full song (and failing), I feel compelled to mention that if you listen closely enough, you can make out some sort of melody in the background, however between the cheesy dinosaur growl samples and the sound quality rivaling that of most 8-track players, it’s all pretty much lost in the ether. They seem to have to gone to great lengths to ensure that future generations will respond to questions about Vulcanodon with a simple “who or what in the god damned fuck are you talking about?”
Tar Pit is yet another failed “concept album” that I can add to my list of failed artists who think that being gimmicky (“hyuk hyuk we make dinosaur rock ya get it hyuk hyuk”) instantly means being funny. I’m not sure where these people seem to come from, or where this idea comes from, but I have a feeling it involves a lighter, a basement, and a “tobacco” pipe. Sure, making funny music might be fun, and if that’s the case, don’t let me stop you; in fact please continue to play – as long as it’s in your parents’ garage, away from me. If it’s an inside joke that only you and the bassist will ever understand, for the love of Christ, keep it that way. Stay after practice and hit the snare drum with a waffle cone, while the singer screams on and on about how he wanted a half-caf double-sweet mocha and not the other way around, but please don’t waste my time with your crap. You can’t honestly tell me you didn’t know it was garbage from the start, can you?
After writing this much, I figured it was only fair to give it one more listen. Perhaps I was being too hard on Vulcanodon; perhaps there was really something underneath it all that I had missed the first go round. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. It was still the same screaming (?), guitars which seem to have 30 or more distortion pedals connected to them, and a presence that would seem more at home as the background music to the reveal scene in a horror movie. There’s little to no substance here, and where there’s substance, there’s still no structure.
My recommendation? If you really want to listen to Tar Pit, consider jumping in one first – it would probably hurt less.