Harder and heavier than other releases, sonically Self-Aggrandizement elevates the Show Business Giants into the company of Wire, NomeansNo, and the Ex, albeit with Holliston's fractured viewpoint still fully on display, and occasional side trips into sonic silliness. Pop culture references still abound: the chorus for "My Brother's Kid's a Waste of Sperm!" delightfully compares the awful child to the Fall's Mark E. Smith, and the band obviously had fun writing "Generic Children's Song a la Yngwe Malmsteen." Unlike on some other releases, the humor on Self-Aggrandizement isn't allowed to overshadow Holliston's highly literate and articulate writing skills. In the song "Why Don't You Fuck Off?," for example, Holliston bemoans corporate co-option of art: "In every Chapters window, on every Wal-Mart's rack/From obscurity to resurgence and into paperback/Posterity's taken a shine to you and/there's fuck-all you can do./Your lovers are now impotent, your apostles can only moan/As they watch Michael Eisner pry the jewelry from your bones/Meanwhile some distant nephew, is busy setting sights/On a protracted battle over foreign rights." The production and mastering, assisted by noted Vancouver producer Marc L'Esperance, is top-notch, making Self-Aggrandizement easily the best-sounding CD in the Show Business Giants' catalog. Any fan of NomeansNo, Hanson Brothers, or hard-edged alternative rock will be happy to add this gem to their collection.
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AllMusic Review by Laurie Mercer
feat: Scott Henderson