Sunday, April 30, 2006

Genius Of Crack (1993) – Tsunami

Simple Machines founders Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thomson embodied the D.I.Y. ethic of the early nineties, not only running their own independent label out of their house in Arlington, Virginia, but also strapping on guitars to front the label’s flagship band, Tsunami. Although suffering from subpar production that deprived the instruments of their dynamic range, Tsunami’s debut album Deep End still stands as the apotheosis of agitated “punk la la rock” filtered through a sieve of melodic gumption.

“Genius of Crack” relates the self-reproach of a person who has failed to take advantage of her talents to reach her aspirations. The sandpaper grit of distorted guitars slowly unfurls in billows of dissonance as the tempo gradually gains momentum, as if to impose impetus upon the inertia. Adopting the persona of an underachieving slacker, Toomey confronts her failures and disappointments. Unable to achieve financial or social prestige, she will always be disposed to itinerant waywardness. She acknowledges that her unfulfilled potential stems from choices she has made in the past, and the inability to harness her experiences into animus. In the interest of cognitive dissonance, Toomey adheres to the notion that music worth making lacks commercial appeal. But, foundering in a morass of futility, she invokes her muse to inspire, her fortitude to spur. Cohort Thomson concurs with impassioned harmonies, deploring the repercussion of their debilitating fecklessness: “We’re so slack / We come off like geniuses on crack.” The strain of regret devolves into a maelstrom of discordant guitars and crashing drums, exploding in a cathartic detonation as Toomey’s sense of self-worth is obliterated, a musician manqué on the precipice of resignation, coming to terms with the demise of her dreams.

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