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VSS, The - Nervous Circuits Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 6.75
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 8
Production 7.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 7.5
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 79%
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VSS, The - Nervous Circuits

Reviewed by: Scott Irvine (07/08/08)
The VSS - Nervous Circuits (Reissue)
Release Date: May 20th, 2008
Record Label: Hydra Head Records


Snotty punk is beyond banal by now. I've said it before. I'll probably say it again. If you'd like to prove me wrong, and want to claim this decade's reiterations have something new to say, then listen to The VSS's Nervous Circuits and tell me that what these guys did in the mid-90's was the primordial muck from which the bands you revere today had crawled. Convince me progression follows forward in time and we're living and listening to an ever conscious liberal music machine. Do it. The fair press here is that the VSS were the last of a kind: whether they represented the bare fists of San Diego's finest without actually living there, or simply added as much to an already dying genre without compromising character or whatever class limited production values and a packed basement show bought you -- Nervous Circuits is the feverish cackle before the crumble. Forming from the influence-axis that is Angel Hair, The VSS is likely less namedropped and, without this reissue surely, would have most likely gone on to an untold oblivion that only involved cross-sold 7"s on eBay and maybe an Epitonic profile or something as pitifully undwelling.

Somewhere in this critique would be a visual of the band's live show, considering how the reissue of this album comes with a nice DVD of various live footage scraped from VHS tapes shot by fans, but apparently it's not pertinent to what a review is thought to entail -- that is, to my knowledge, an encompassing of the entire package. It's likely something that'd be on the tailend of the que of videos you'd rewatch on Youtube because of its shaky-cam, back-rowed cinema -- but let's face it, fans looking to pick up this reissue are definitely familiar with less than decent videos of their favorite bands. Hell, I'll watch a song shot through a mirror behind the stage any day!

The vocals are often more like chugging moans. The keys and electronics safe from hardcore-kid disdain with their discomforting and seismically dismal spew. The guitars miscarriage'd and in dead baby purgatory where angular frustrations of unbreathing reflect and slant in to a sweat of discordant rhythm. The outcome something replicated but not stolen, this has thankfully been left to the fucking professionals. Instrumental interlude "Effigy", fellow to sixth and middle "Conscious", swells with atmospheric electronics that seem to have fragmented from the steady drumbeat into a weeping, pessimistic puddle of stagnant meaning and melody. Taps on the piano give some sense of human involvement, but are so unprofessionally painted in to the song that they actually seem improvised, almost an inhuman reaction to the palate placed in front of himher. Those who remember Mass Movement of the Moth and DC's brief underground love affair with them may see where they got their influence for UFO-keys and sci-fi rhythm -- "What Kind of Ticks?" Though I can't pick a singular song to display what the VSS wear on their shirtsleeve the entire ride through. The band isn't as messy as the review upuntilnow may have sold it to be. It's comparable to a breath-fog on the window -- it's blurry, a little bit intrusive, but you can still see out the window. The melody, the structure is there, it is just a little bit tangled. But isn't everything?

It's five in the morning and I'm going to hurry this along for the sake of finishing what I started. Had you heard of the VSS before stumbling upon this review? Probably not. Will you enjoy it, understand it, make sense of it? Probably not. Still, for others, Nervous Circuits is a lifestyle. Mess, unintelligible lyrics, conclusion -- this is daily, if you think about it. Why not provide tomorrow with a soundtrack by servicing Soulseek for one more download? Will you better for it? Depends. Does anything really get better? Absolutely not. Just look at what fucking came out of what this band started.

Recommended If You Like: Big Black, Unwound, Swing Kids
 
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
07:22 AM on 07/08/08
#2
TooLateF0rRoses
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well written review friend. Any bands of comparison?
09:55 AM on 07/08/08
#3
Scott Irvine
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well written review friend. Any bands of comparison?

The best comparisons I can come up with are Big Black, Unwound, and Swing Kids.
10:38 AM on 07/08/08
#4
snowtires
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there's absolutely no way the vss would have gone into an 'untold oblivion' without this reissue, at the very least that's a rather uninformed assumption. keep in mind, reissues are usually put out because there's a market for them, no record label wants to lose money. for me, this album is and always has been a 10/10. it's one of my favorites. check out 21:51, their cd collection of 7" releases, for an even crazier example of 'holy shit, these guys sounded like this back THEN?!?' angel hair and the vss were so far ahead of every trend, the trends they started, it's crazy.
11:05 AM on 07/08/08
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Scott Irvine
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there's absolutely no way the vss would have gone into an 'untold oblivion' without this reissue, at the very least that's a rather uninformed assumption. keep in mind, reissues are usually put out because there's a market for them, no record label wants to lose money. for me, this album is and always has been a 10/10. it's one of my favorites. check out 21:51, their cd collection of 7" releases, for an even crazier example of 'holy shit, these guys sounded like this back THEN?!?' angel hair and the vss were so far ahead of every trend, the trends they started, it's crazy.

Far from uninformed, my friend.

And reissues always have a market because it provides listeners even mildly familiar with the name or the scene they came from with a pocket in to which they can reach in to something that was until the reissue came out fairly obscure.
11:35 AM on 07/08/08
#6
snowtires
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Far from uninformed, my friend.

And reissues always have a market because it provides listeners even mildly familiar with the name or the scene they came from with a pocket in to which they can reach in to something that was until the reissue came out fairly obscure.

it wasn't obscure, it was out of print. but that doesn't mean it was forgotten or in danger of being forgotten any time soon. lots of important releases are out of print, that doesn't mean that the band doesn't have fans.
11:52 AM on 07/08/08
#7
TheBaroness
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never got into this band, they were always a letdown for me knowing ex-members of Portraits of Past were now playing this kind of music. But your review has inspired me to give them another chance.
11:59 AM on 07/08/08
#8
Scott Irvine
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it wasn't obscure, it was out of print. but that doesn't mean it was forgotten or in danger of being forgotten any time soon. lots of important releases are out of print, that doesn't mean that the band doesn't have fans.

If it's out of print -- that means it is not available. I see a correlation between not being available and being in danger of being forgotten. Maybe that's just me
03:06 AM on 07/09/08
#9
Blake Solomon
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i really like this review. I'm going to have to find this release in the cd pile of doom when I get home.
07:55 PM on 07/10/08
John-Michael
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If it's out of print -- that means it is not available. I see a correlation between not being available and being in danger of being forgotten. Maybe that's just me

In the day and age of downloading nothing is unavailable.
04:27 PM on 07/14/08
Scott Irvine
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In the day and age of downloading nothing is unavailable.

You'd be surprised.
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