Supercoolnothing

16volt

Slipdisc / Mercury Records, 1998

http://16volt.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/21/1998

Trent Reznor, move over... you've got company.

Although Los Angeles-based 16 Volt doesn't like categorization, their music is very much a mixture of insustrial and skeptical thought, all put to rock (and, sometimes, even gentler) melodies. Their fourth full-length release (and first for Slipdisc), my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Supercoolnothing, shows how well this band has mastered their craft.

Led by vocalist/guitarist Eric Powell (who also handles the programming duties), 16 Volt quickly establishes themselves as a name to be watched on "I Fail Truth". It's different in that the focus isn't always on the pained shouting of the lyrics like many industrial bands get into; instead, the focus seems to be on writing a decent song, one that has more substance than just synthesizer work. Guitarist/bassist Mike Peoples and guitarist Krayge Tyler help make sure that the sound gets fleshed out into something quite workable.

The best part of 16 Volt is that they continually deliver hard-hitting blows to the ears that make you wonder why they haven't been a household name yet. From the gentle verses building to a powerful chorus on "Moutheater" to the subtle declaration "Fuck the record industry" on "The Enemy," Powell and crew constantly initiate your interest and challenge popular views. Especially noteworthy is his comment on "And I Go": "I'm in love with the devil, and she's in love with me." That should raise some eyebrows.

But in the end, Supercoolnothing isn't an album that's supposed to shock people. No, it's main purpose is to breathe some new life into a style of music that some people might think is starting to stagnate. And if tracks like "Dead Weight", "Machine Kit" and "Everyday Everything" are any indication, 16 Volt is doing just that, and doing it well.

If Powell and crew don't mind, I would like to offer my own categorization of 16 Volt and Supercoolnothing: a damned good album.

1998 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slipdisc / Mercury Records, and is used for reference purposes only.

Rating: A-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slipdisc / Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.