HiM

Egg

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Call H.I.M.'s debut album dub per se and one might as well welcome the fans of Lee Perry and King Tubby, among many others, to come down and openly make fun of such a claim. Certainly compared to, say, Twilight Circus' awesome embrace and reinterpretation of dub's sheer heavy-duty power, Egg is a more polite experiment with the forms and functions of that style that is just as given over to other approaches. If something else is the key, it's the perhaps unfortunately all too dour side of '90s post-rock, or however wants to apply that ill-defined term -- basslines learned more from Chicago and Louisville bands of all stripes, dreamy halfway-to-blissout guitar here and there adding a bit of sweetness. Compared to the sheer drudgery of bands like Tortoise, admittedly, Scharin actually sounds like he could get somewhere (as he eventually did), and certainly he makes for a sufficient one-man band. The ultimate failing point is that, in general, Egg's tracks either aren't sunny enough to hit the good-time vibes or weird and creeped out to result in something harrowing and memorable, occasional strong points like the moody, cinematic opening to "Painted Egg" aside. Cuts like "Three on a Tree" are fair, yet too easily shrugged off, odd echoed vocal samples typical signposts rather than random tweaks and twists, the guitar and bass work no great shakes. As a drummer and percussionist Scharin is superb, his clattering and complex overdubs really showing some great individual flair, but that's the high point. As a result, Egg is agreeable listening but not truly deathless, an experiment courtesy of a talented enthusiast who ultimately creates a slightly sterile combination genre exercise. Points for calling one track "E-Bola," though.

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