Pop Faction

When I first laid eyes on this record I thought to myself, "Something this ugly and retarded simply cannot be bad." Lo and behold, I was right for once. The ghastly logo on the cover of VCR's 6-song EP looks like that of a Walgreen's brand cologne circa 1983, and the back cover lists song titles like "Rad" (sample lyric: "You could be rad/R-A-D/You could be rad!") and "DVD" (um, yeah!). The music itself is Cologne Man at a costume party, doused in sweaty dollar-store fragrance and drunk through next week, all jacked-down hi-hat dance-punk, polyphonic synth shriek (the 21st century equivalent of the fuzzbox), and party-in-my-mouth-and-everyone's-leavin' vocal entropy.

The song "We Are VCR" is the band's statement of purpose, and its awesome ham-handedness makes the song--and possibly the whole record, and maybe your week. If the subtle refrain of "Oh yeah!/All right!/WHOOO!!" doesn't let you know exactly where the band stands, the singer can spell it out for you: "We want you to dance/We are the future of dance!" (I think he's referring here to the social activity and not the art form, or maybe he's just copping some of ABBA's syntax or planning to start a ballet troupe). The fortunate thing, though, is that all the wacky Caucasoid shout-outs connect with you: The music sounds like what it is, not carefully decadent idiot-poetics, but just the stuff bands yell at a crowd through fucked-up microphones in the heat of a house party.

Maybe it all sounds familiar, but the band doesn't seem to mind, or expect you to: When they sing "The future happens here/Don't keep us in the past" (on "Back in Business"), the "past" might as well refer to the Faint or Radio 4 as the Revolting Cocks. There's no parking on their dance floor, so cut, like, several rugs or grab some wall, critic. That's the way things go in depressed industrial college burgs like VCR's hometown of Richmond, Virginia--the unalloyed desperation of backyard black-light keg discos manifests itself as the last thin reason you'd choose to stay there, aside from really cheap tobacco. In a city like a hangover, VCR binge on the future like a headache in reverse.

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