(All By Ourselves Records, digital download)
On their MySpace page, local rock outfit Indecent Exposure brazenly claim their latest album, Sleazy, sounds like “nothing you’ve ever heard before.” As if that statement weren’t fraught with enough foolhardy bravado, they challenge skeptics a step further with this perilous line: “Deal with it.”
Them’s fightin’ words.
Does Sleazy live up to its lofty billing? Of course not. Rather, it sounds like a bunch of things you’ve heard many, many times before. Overproduced and underconceived, the disc’s 10 tracks read like a checklist of every malady that has plagued rock music in the last decade. Frat guy rap-rock? Yup. Cheesy pseudo-metal? Hoo boy. Half-assed hard rock electronica? And how! Sadly, the list goes on and on.
“Teen Age Love” opens promisingly enough with a wall of screaming guitar crunch. Guitarist Jim Tye’s lead riff is virile and muscular. Unfortunately, the tune — as the rest of the album — goes limp as soon as he starts singing/rapping. And it’s completely flaccid by the time he chimes in with a series of embarrassingly sloppy DJ cuts. Picture “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith and Run DMC, if reimagined by Vanilla Ice and Korn, and you’re on the right (wrong?) track.
Heather Tye handles vocal duties on the next cut, “Nothing Nothing,” and infuses some much-needed angst and grit into the proceedings. Though she struggles with pitch — or maybe because she does — her performance is believable. And while the band’s generic folly behind her is at best predictable — and, at worst, shamelessly derivative — it’s still the finest cut of the bunch. Unfortunately, it is followed by the very worst.
Over Matrix-y, Chemical Brothers-lite electro-metal, Jim Tye uncorks a painfully awkward rap barely worthy of an Education Connection TV commercial. I defy you not to snicker when he earnestly growls, “Come on, come on. Get up, get up. Yeah!” after each chorus like a “South Park” parody of Metallica’s James Hatfield.
The remainder of the album is … jeez, can we just talk about something else? Even I’m feeling a little queasy here. The bottom line is this: If you’ve tuned into a modern rock radio station in the last 10 years — hardly bastions of originality to begin with — you’ve heard what Sleazy has to offer. And you’ve heard it done much better.
Then again, maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe the album is a lark, a pointed barb at pop culture, and Indecent Exposure are the greatest satirists since Oscar freaking Wilde. In that case, Sleazy might be the most brilliant local album released in years … deal with it.
Sleazy is available via numerous online retailers, including iTunes and CD Baby.