The Scene Is Now

Burn All Your Records

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The Scene Is Now's first album was, in many respects, their boldest and most extreme effort, but for all the purposeful chaos, twisted tunes, and fractured rhythms that pepper Burn All Your Records, this is a record full of unbridled joy in a way few recordings that so openly flirt with the avant-garde are willing to express. More than one critic has described Burn All Your Records as "Dadaesque," and given the playful nature of many of the early pioneers of Dada, this is particularly fitting; a variety of different instruments bob in and out of these songs along with the traditional guitar/bass/drums, and while it's the traditional rhythm section that gives these songs a groove, it's the buzzing of keyboards, the bleating of less-than-expert horn players, the clatter of pots and pans, and the nasal hum of a kazoo that brings spice and texture to the angular "melodies." Chris Nelson, Philip Dray, Dick Champ, and Jeff McGovern weren't much on coherent narrative when they wrote the 20 songs that zip by in all of 37 minutes on Burn All Your Records, but the interaction between the tight, funky bottom and the angular, frantic sounds on the top tell all the stories you need to hear, and they're able to serve this up in a variety of flavors, from the jaunty "Social Practice" and the garage rock momentum of "Little Georgie Baker" to the cut-rate exotica of "Yellow Sarong" and the vague country undertones of "Railroad Boy." The Scene Is Now were far from the first band in New York (or anywhere else, for that matter) who were exploring the possibilities of angular and "difficult" sounds, but with Burn All Your Records they combined the ingredients in a richly satisfying and bracing manner, as if the Lovin' Spoonful and Captain Beefheart's Magic Band had a jam session in which both bands actually got equal time.

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