As If

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They may dress like Kurt Cobain on a bad day, but Belladonnakillz music is about as far from '90s grunge as you can get. Formed by the unholy four-way matrimony of glitch, breakcore, guitar pop and punk rock, it's a consistently exciting and sometimes sonically shocking amalgam of influences that is frequently dragged down by the kind of sophomoric sex talk that only Beavis and Butthead could love. When they keep their lyrical themes at something above a preadolescent level, Belladonnakillz can do amazing things: on As If, "The Man" combines pseudoclassical piano phrases with frenetic breakbeats mixed way, way back, while the singer croons at half speed; "Neverever" explores similar territory with similarly fine results, and "Y Try Fight Life" combines glitchy jungle with an almost Beatlesque chord progression and one of the most edgily brilliant instrumental bridges ever recorded. On the downside, "Heroine" is completely uninteresting at every level, while "Let U Go" offers self-consciously over-the-top vulgarity over a stiff and ungainly reggae beat. "Pitch the Bitch" ruins some fantastic breaks with stupidly offensive lyrics. No doubt this is the kind of criticism that Belladonnakillz both expects and revels in; hopefully someday they'll realize that being obnoxious is easy, and they'll put their considerable talents to more consistently rewarding work.

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