Review Revue: The The - Mind Bomb

Review Revue
Levi Fuller

Matt Johnson's The The is yet another band (or musical project, if you prefer, since it seems to have been Johnson and whatever troupe of brilliant musicians he could round up when it came time to make a record) that I never listened to in their heyday/my youth, and I can't quite figure out why. Maybe Mind Bomb was just a bit too grown-up for a pre-teen such as myself when it came out, and then I never got around to it? That's what I'll go with. It's too bad, because there's a lot to like here: plenty of brilliant musicianship and songcraft, and scads of cutting, brutally dark lyrics for a teenager in the early '90s to memorize and write on his wall. In fact, listening to this album today, it sounds almost like a slightly more reserved version of Jim Thirlwell's Foetus, which I adored: brainy and bitter, yet still catchy as hell.

The KCMU gang seem to have been just the right age to dig Mind Bomb, although apparently some folks were digging it just a bit too much, as it started to wear out its welcome in heavy rotation. Perhaps the rumored first new album of The The songs since 2000 will do the same when it comes out in (fingers crossed) 2016!

"God! As always - great! Read lyric sheet for reasons to hate the world, but keep living anyway."

"This is great. + Sinead O'Connor [illegible due to folded over label, but probably "sings on," since she sings on it] it too."

"This is a kinder, gentler Matt Johnson. Actually he seems as tortured as always, but the music is softer and subtler."

"Featuring Art 'Bob' Aubry as Matt Johnson. [I have no idea what this means.]"

"God is evil / God is love / Love stinks / more love!... this guy is disturbed by the general direction of the world, & who can blame him? This is better than the single promised; the lyrics are generally interesting - if they do cast up their arms in exasperation. 1-1 is great, too bad he said 'fucking.' PS - it's not ART... not milkdud necklace..." [??? I guess this is a reference to the squiggles drawn in around Johnson's neck on the cover.]

"H is stuffed full of great albums right now - this being one of them."

"Quite excellent. I still don't think he'll ever top Soul Mining but this is more diverse."

"Gee... I wish I said H in the first places... this is great! P.S. it's being marketed with stickers warning about explicit language (at least I can still burn my flag)" [I think this is a bit of venting about the post-PMRC "parental advisory" labels that haunted so many releases in the late '80s and '90s.]

"Too bad we don't have KJET to kick around anymore. This wouldn't be in heavy if we did."

"Could this get out of H please. It's been here too long!"

"Yes! Out!"

"Beyond Love gets a little graphic. Can you say 'semen' on the air?"

"Well, of course... but if it makes you more comfortable, you can mouth over 'sailors.'"

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