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Sub Plot CD
At present, Brightons Im Being Good are retreading the steps
of the late, lamented American band Polvo, slinging deleriously woozy
lead guitars over tightly wound, angular art-rock foundations. At a time
when most British bands disport themselves in worthless second-hand signifiers,
there are worse precedents to build on, and Im Being Good are to
be admired for attempting anything interesting amid a culture of Toploader
NME cover stories. He Has Unborn Eyes on Long Tinsel Stalks is the highlight
here, heavier than the most determined nu-metal band, yet evidencing an
intelligent, focused intent.
Stewart Lee [the Sunday Times,
SUB PLOT CD
a much darker, more tangled number that poisonous life. this
CD contains 6 twisted, nervy adventures into mystery rock. possibly the
only band still trying to use music as a form of expression rather than
as some kind of detatched fucking genre-points scheme. im not saying
they MEAN it, just that they FEEL it. and another thing: they ROCK.
Sub Plot CD
Heres a tough one to review. Not because Sub Plot is anything less
than a spark chasing, blister bursting slab of sonic subversion, but more
because its easy to categorise on the one hand, and difficult to
pin down on the other. Probe regulars might remember the review of Im
Being Goods previous album, the nail peeling Poisonous Life. Sub
Plot s first track Angels on our Shoulders starts in
a more confident, and damn it, coherent vein. Guitars and production sound
round and behaved, and its only after a couple of minutes in to
the track that you get the first inklings that this might be a noisy album
after all. Until things quieten down again. Six minutes in, and things
return to hard and nasty. At which point you realise its been six
minutes; at least two more than is acceptable in the primordial principles
of pop. And yet, it doesnt seem that long. In a clever, confident
move, Im Being Good hold the interest long after it should have
Things carry on in this beguiling way. Kill him With War Savings
is a riffier, brasher animal, which flops into old school hardcore, yet
still sounding interesting throughout.
Some of the tuning is still oddbut not as odd as Poisonous Lifeand
the Trumans Water desperate ranting has been toned down. Joust
and He has Unborn Eyes on Long Tinsel Stalks play the loud/quiet
dynamic until it has a fit and becomes something different altogether.
All in all, quite an album. Its not a YEH on the first
few listens. Its a real grower however; and as real growers go,
its one of the best. On the strength of this album, Im Being
Good should be talked about in hushed tones. In upping the professionalisma
drum technician was called inand messing with loopy
structures and odd bluish Muji/alienartwork, struggly indie art noise
is given a new twist. Solar System of Blood [for Ringo], the
last song on the album, sums this up. Its about four minutes before
anything happens, and yet in all that nothing happening, theres
almost too much going on. Then theres about another seven
and a half minutes, after a slight change, when nothing happens in a slightly
different key and tempo. My guess is that Andrew Clare and his cronies
will never be household names. Still, if you want weird with a sniff of
fresh and scary, this is a wise purchase. Jazz, really, thats assuredly
and playfully revered and massacred in fine noise-nick tradition.
Only two questions remain. Is the reference to Ringo a swipe, and if so,
can the argument as to whether he was great or rubbish be finally sorted
in a deserted warehouse, please?and did Im Being Goods
mattress suspension consultant really add to their sound?
Andrew Kingston, [PROBEmagazine, may2001]
SUB PLOT CD
Looking at the CD contents of 11 songs and 65 minutes, my instincts tell
me that were going to have some weird instrumental stuff popping
up. Correct. Im Being Good are fond of the slightly peculiar and
track 2 (sorry I didnt get a track listing) is a pure slice of avant-garde
noise-rock. Compare this to track 3 - a sort of Pavement-meets-Grandaddy
affair and youre left feeling confused and unsure as to what to
expect next. Despite this Im still surprised by the 8.32 epic that
follows. It traverses ambient twiddling to angry shouting in under 2 minutes
before progressing in palm-muted chaos. And so the confusion continues.
In my eyes at least Im Being Good are showing potential with their
melodic material. With their
more abstract work however they are just being plain weird. 5/10
Reviewed by David Coleman
Im Being Good at the Spitz, London01/06/02
Bands like Brightons Im Being Good are the very reason that
guitar tunings can be changed. A three-piece with a couple of cleverly
modified guitar-cum-basses, IBG play math rock for people who cant
count; odd timings, random stops and dynamic whisper-shouting is order
of the evening at a gloriously art-wank BigSmoke night.
Guitarist Jussi Brightmore comes across as Jamiroquai possessed by the
soul of Krist Novoselic, leaping around and pulling fluid, effortless
Rock poses. Mind you, Jay Kay says he doesnt like to buy records,
while these guys have clearly got a pretty wide collection. Theres
probably quite a lot of Sebadoh in it; frontman Andrew Clare, himself
a spit of Lou Barlow, may have even swallowed one of their earlier rekkids.
Indeed, long-jumper-music is so integral to their sound that drummer David
Ewan Campbell even uses one to play his snare at one point. But whereas
music this Lo-fi is usually such a mess because the band cant be
arsed with an inconvenience like learning to play their instruments, IBG
are all exceptional musicians. Complex guitar/bass combo riffs tear the
venue apart while Clare swings from quiet introspection to terrifying
As the set draws to a close Campbell wanders around his kit, carefully
lying pieces on the floor and banging out a quick rhythm before moving
onto the next bit. Actually, the sight of the dismantled kit is the first
indication in the whole set that a song is ending, what with all those
delicious false stops. Its music to make you think, sure, but its
also music to make you wanna dance about a bit and go grrr.
Being good has never felt so, um, good.
Dee Arr [disorder online]
Trumans Water / IBG split 7
Its the IM BEING GOOD side youll be wanting to hear,
wherein Brightons finest grimacing /grunty noise band pretent theyre
covering Live And Let Die and let rip with their punk rock
chug style. Its the sound of how bored you become when kids in the
backyard keep aiming fireworks at your window panes and you have nothing
better to do than let the window down. Nifty hand made luxury sleeve,
too. And yes, the TRUMANS WATER side is neato hardcore
noise experimentation. Pavement? get the fuck outta my sight! Please.
Everett True [melody maker, 12.12.98]
This must be the musical equivalent of Attention Defecit Disorder; its
all twitches and jitters and guitars being played at spastic intervals.
So much of whats released these days seems calculated to impress
the listener with the musicians suave tastefulness, but Im
Being Good is thankfully free of such restraints. They revel in the intricate
jumbles they can work drums and guitars into and dont seem to be
perturbed at the prospect of causing listeners some puzzlement, And while
it might be a bit much to listen to all at once, Poisonous Life is such
a personal recording and so outside the boundaries of prevailing taste
that i just have to doff my chapeau in its direction. Whether each move
is completely successful or not, the band have chosen to dig into a sound
of their own (that doesnt promise much fiscal or critical response,
either) that bears notice. I wont pull this out every day, but its
a great musical palette cleanser, and thats a necessity when so
many records I hear seem to aim for the
Bruce Adams [your flesh #43]
Im Being Good have been playing in various forms for nigh on six
years now and their guitar oriented quasi-improv blather has reached absurdly
great heights. Hearing a new CD or watching them play live has become
one of the few genuine highlights of the postrockor
whatever its called this weekcalendar. The eleven pieces presented
here capture the band at a new high, as they roll tunes into spit balls
and fire them across a shifting rhythmic structure with the casual abandon
that only the truly talented can muster.
The fact that these guys arent world famous is a testament to the
genuine clarity of their vision.
Jack Sargeant [fringecore magazine]
Im Being Good have the clear potential to take the Squirrel
Rock crown of spiked-out, supercharged awkward and deranged music.
The term Squirrel Rock derives from the strange ambivalence
of the furry beasts of the same name. While most see them as adorable
little fellas which play, collect nuts and hibernate, theres forever
a suspicion that different races of squirrels exist with the sole purpose
of wiping each other out, make no pretence of taking the odd 40 winks,
let alone hibernation and are actually bark-destroying vermin.
And then theres Squirrel Rock, which is the last great
unrecorded sub-genre of popular music. In Squirrel Rock, all
the classic components are there. Some degree of youth (usually),
electricity, proper instruments. CDs et cetera. Only somewhere along the
line blazed by luminaries like Beefheart in the early days to more recent
purveyors like Trumans Water, the rock things been blown apart.
Imagine a car engine taken to pieces and put together all wrong. Then
cranked up to the point of perpetual destruction. Thats the essence
of Squirrel Rock.
Im Being Good take essential squirrel components (irregular timings
and ferocious, nervy energy) and do their absolute best to design eleven
tracks which youll be totally floored trying to whistle along to
later. In addition, theres funny tunings, which take a little while
to get used to and some Yankee style vocal deliveries. If you can live
with these distractions, Poisonous Life is top drawer Squirrel Rock,
which will either have you grinning your teeth through your gums, or scratching
your head because the CDs cover art made you think you were going
to some kind of Indie Trumpton. Its kind of conventional guitar-heavy
to pieces by the kind of surgical appliances hospitals wont sterilise
anymore and made screechy as an old bastard owl.
[...] The problem with listening to records like Poisonous Life, is that
you can only guess what on earths going on in the minds of these
crazies. After the second track a cheer of relief presumably celebrating
the successful completion of a song nearly gives the game away. Theres
clearly an intensity to the music which doesnt necessarily translate
that well on record. If you like whats going on youre going
to want to see Im Being Good do a good live show; and youre
going to be thinking what great soundtrack music Small things could make
if only they were given the chance...
The new im being good (no caps) CD reminds me of Smash Your Headera
Sebadoh playing Revengeera Flying Luttenbachers but such critical comparisons
are trite and reductive. Theres a certain dynamism and chaos (respective
to the two bands) in these songs that, if they have to be genrefied, would
probabl y be best described as circus violence. Man, this
is turning out to be a really shitty review (for me, not them, I really
like the CD, but I cant
really describe it without recourse to stupid record review conventions).
The music is difficult yet friendly and theres plenty of (what someone
would call) improvisation or experimentation interlaced within (slightly)
more approachable song structures. Clare and his compatriots have worked
on the 13 Ghosts (with Thurston Moore + Derek Bailey) project (also released
on Infinite Chug) and it, like this and the artwork of the label, tempers
sketchiness and abstraction with all sorts of stuff you can grab onto
and really enjoy without an initiation or pretensions.
Sam Leimer [WHPK website]
2 am. College radio station. Lonely DJ, glass of lemonade. Zebra mussels
PSA cued up. Just played Sarah Records-heavy set, finishing off with some
band with members of Look Blue Go Purple. Sigh. Needs something noisy.
Has never been crazy about the noise angle. Once, two years
ago, bought and returned copy of Sonic Youths Sonic Death.
2 am. Hipster home. Lonely hipster, smelly t-shirt. Flips on radio. Thinks
Is this Look Blue Go Purple? Zebra mussels create a
rough, smelly mess...
2:05 am. College DJ puts on Im Being Goods Poisonous
Life, track 11. Title: Finger to Other Bands. Hopes
there are no audible curse words.
2:07 am. Hipster listener notices something noisy is on. Very noisy. Thinks
it sounds like college radio wallpaper. Wonders about treating him/herself
to tasty treat. Maybe Swiss Cake roll.
2:14 am. College DJ is now waiting for next DJ. Next DJ is not arriving.
1st DJ decides to let the record start over from the beginning. Notices
that what heretofore seemed like just noise is actually the common blend
of dissonant plinked guitars, all out ugly noise, distorted vocals, and
punk and heavy metal rhythms, with some prog-rock moments thrown in. Finds
startling change from minimal, Slint-y opening intro to sax-y skronker
What is Phonewolf to be delectable.
2:15 am. Hipster listener looks up from cake snack and local free weekly.
Wonders why this song is still on. Is this still the same song? Decides
no. No, on careful listen, this is clearly a different song. Is this the
same band? Doesnt care. Finds Swiss Cake Roll to be delectable.
2:30 am. College DJ is visibly pleased. Feels his/her horizons have broadened
considerably since 2 years ago. College DJ may marry the record. No longer
waiting for next DJ. Now enjoying vaguely Kashmir-ish, circus-y
Country Boy on the Sniff, with its little boy-singalong interruptions.
Finds music to be rather like one-time labelmates Trumans Water.
2:32 am. Hipster thinks to him/herself, Is this Trumans Water?
before drifting off to napland.
2:56 am. College DJ pots up the microphone. Okay, that was, uh,
Im Being Good, from, um, Brighton, uh, England. Um... Irish
Musical Revival DJ walks in, nearly an hour late, slaps on the Bay
City Rollers and gives 1st DJ the heave-ho.
Todd Paley [rocketfuel online magazine]