Album: The Greater Wrong Of The Right
Almost everything than can be said about Skinny Puppy’s latest album has been said. It’s been said and re-said. It’s been folded, spindled, and mutilated. It’s be hashed and re-hashed. And you still have one opinion or another: it’s fantastic or it’s crap that’s not suited to carry the Skinny Puppy name.
The naysayers make the point that too much has changed, the tone is all wrong and that it’s not the same band anymore. “They never should have dishonored Dwayne’s memory by going on,” they lament. Well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t hear anyone complain that Skinny Puppy changed when Bill Leeb left. The band is as it ever was, Ogre and cEvin Key doing what they do best: making the music that they enjoy.
Give it a rest. Ten years have passed. Much has changed. The technology is new and different. Music has come a long way since Nirvana, Bush, and Hootie & The Blowfish. This is a new day, a new age, a new sound and a new message. And maybe we ought to accept it and give it a try before throwing it out as not sounding like “Dig It” or “Testure” or “Worlock” or whatever was your favorite Skinny Puppy track. Because, to tell you the truth, I don’t want to hear the same Skinny Puppy album four or five more times.
The lyrical content this go-round is a new variation on the usual Skinny Puppy repertoire. No more are the days of harping on animal rights or detailing the internal struggle of Ogre as drug user. More astute and topical than usual, though still sprinkled throughout Ogre’s jagged thoughts, are diatribes belittling the social condition of a country under the thumb of George W.’s intense rhetoric. While his message might not be the most clear, it’s sure to say that his disapproval of our condition, our leaders, our war, our society is at its peak, generating ire currently with conservative groups across the country, filling their forums with thinly-veiled and totally-unveiled threats and pleas to shoot this “traitor to America” on sight. For Skinny Puppy, the thoughts and message of this album may be their most pertinent to date and deserve some consideration by their fans.
Musically, this album brings you things in a new light. It’s the same old Skinny Puppy structures, some of the same sounds, keys, and pads, just with a new rhythm, a new attitude, and a faster beat. It’s as much an evolution and extension of The Process as anything. Songs like “I’mmortal” and “d0wnsizer” deliver many of the earmarks of older Skinny Puppy with new tones. Other tracks show more of Ogre’s evolution to actual singing in their similarity to OhGr’s albums. “Pro-test” comes off as a bitter, driving Prodigy song, while “Past Present” takes the electronica of “Blue Serge” and pounds it into a new shape.
I would say that many of the tracks, like “Use Less” and “DaddyuWarbash” stand up as some of Skinny Puppy’s best, if not nearly their most experimental. And thousands would disagree with me. But the point is: isn’t it just nice to have something new, different, inventive, and with a verifiable message to listen to?
So, lose the chip on your shoulder, give it a try, and just enjoy it, without all that nasty baggage. And maybe you’ll find a CD that you can really enjoy, even if it isn’t your father’s Skinny Puppy.
from ReGen Magazine (~4/2005)