By Robert Bradley Leonard II
Headache and eyes hurt, everything is fitted on a web. Fine illuminated screens give me all the reason I need to wake each tired morning – the infinite deluge of drama, love, protest, bold headlines worthy of satire, and a mess of informational misrepresentation – – definitively: Morality, Perception, Dysfunction, and Entertainment.
Words are the immediate breakdown of ideas and then to further embrace inefficiency the value of those words are altered in the arena of varied perception. This system is nature’s little way of letting us cope with and understand our surroundings for continued survival. Amplify perceptions that often fall to misconception and dysfunction ensues. What you do with that information is attributed to your morality, a relative notion at best. So on to entertainment…
As far as entertainment goes ET is blooming with it as we peer into the sole wheelhouse of frontman Tyler Morris. ET2 is forged from melodramatic descent, encompassing the breadth of all inner uncertainties. The edgy raucous is only partially subdued by sparse melodic efforts and is essential for breaking away from the status quo, sonically to say the least.
ET Anderson is a recognizable contradiction to what is expected from Tyler Morris – that the ‘singles’ are welcomingly out-of-place against a backdrop of disjointed and robust rhythms. It’s a shape few are formed with but many try to emulate, never reaching the level that ET Anderson has attained. ET remains true to the disjointed workings of Morris but on ET2 the stand out tracks “Love is Not,” “Never Be Alone,” and “Going Deaf” congeal with the surrounding effort in immaculate cohesion. What’s happening here is a return to the concept album, yea of course most songs or albums have some fragment of concept — I’ll give you that — but carrying that idea throughout the duration is a missed notion. Instead of trying to formulate ideas into pop sentiment, ET tackles abstract conceptualism without it being too hard to live with.
In pursuit of exploration ET uses many devices, some literary, some in the albums transcription. The facet of “Never Be Alone” is Morris’s falsetto as it etches comedic disillusionment in the trills of “We will never be alone again…” Another memorable moment presents itself when in dystopian fashion the vocal breaks into almost mechanically brainwashed speech, “I’ve been waiting for the weekend, I’ve waited so patiently.” Beyond vocal manipulation Morris confirmed that some unconventional recording methods were used in formulating ET2’s lo-fi vibe – many of the tracks including vocals, well.. pretty much anything but the drums were recorded through a guitar amp – although the snare sound on “Goodboy” was processed a’la amp.
The intensity of ET2 is only echoed by the feverish way in which it was recorded. There was no delaying the gratification of ET Anderson’s second release for frontman Morris – the self imposed, strict timeline had the album completed in three weeks with all instruments recorded by Morris himself (except where noted). This urgency left no chance for second guesses and allowed ET to circumvent the notoriously inefficient median of palette to canvas. Album opener “Don’t Make It Easier” is the closest thing to a duet you’ll get from ET as the drone taints any sense of connection that you may find between the two voices as they sway in unison “I don’t trust myself, cause you.” On “Exile Again” sloshy guitar lays atop a steady rhythmic pulse creating stark contrast between what you thought was a foundation and the chaos that it quickly descends into.
Our time is spent in a perfunctory reality that is scarily personified as we walk the plank towards singularity. In fitting conclusion I will quote a tweet, “I wonder how many miles I’ve scrolled.” (@natepuza)
It’s all about choosing what to know and how to know it — I guess. Here’s to putting the ‘fun’ in dysfunction and the ‘tert’ in entertainment .