In 2000, Apartment 26 issued its debut LP, Hallucinating, an album heavily -- heavily -- influenced by the gimmicky cross-pollination of industrial and metal favored by aggro types like Orgy and Gravity Kills. A full four years later, Apartment returned on a new label (Atlantic), with a new album (Music for the Massive) and a fully rehabbed yet no less problematic sonic exterior. Tchad Blake seems to have been one of the foremen on this reconstruction project; he handles most of the production and mixing, as well as a few instrumental turns. The band's industrial foment is still intact, but it's been steamrolled into slick sheets of clicking, processed electronic mush. The result? White noise, blips, and smatterings of voices and synthesized instruments filling the gaps between Music's enormous, guitar-heavy loud rock choruses and its meandering, go-nowhere verses. Blake and mixer Chris Lord-Alge have capably refitted Apartment 26's previous sound for 21st century marketability; unfortunately, the band itself still has very little source material to bring to the table, which makes Music resemble an enactment of formula instead of an album of songs. And then there's those odd, ham-fisted attempts to fuse jazz and swing elements to aggressive nu-metal. "Give Me More" and "Book (Be My Friend)" are as gimmicky as anything on Hallucinating; they sound like Filter covering Cherry Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot." "Stupid World"'s thick, buzzing guitar line is pretty catchy, but even here insistent processing cleanses it to the point of utter blandness. "5 Day Rental" is even more aimless, wandering between shimmering organs, guttural vocals, gargantuan guitar tones, and the usual bed of electronics. It's possible all of this is supposed to sound like an updated Jane's Addiction, but there's just no real songwriting meat underneath all the rancid bluster. Confusing records like Music for the Massive only further muddle a post-grunge/nu-metal movement already afflicted with the wheel-spinning doldrums.
Music for the Massive Review
by Johnny Loftus