Review Revue: Skinny Puppy - Bites

Review Revue
07/30/2015
Levi Fuller

I could have sworn I had covered an album by Pacific NW industrial (Or are they? More on that below.) legends Skinny Puppy in this space before, but unless Google is lying to me, I have not. (And if Google is lying to us now, we have bigger problems than whether or not I'm writing about Skinny Puppy too much.) Skinny Puppy is yet another band that I knew of mainly from the t-shirts and patches of cool and kind-of-scary girls I hung out with in high school, but have listened to very little, if at all.

The full-fledged flame war that Bites, the band's first full-length album, incited among the KCMU cognoscenti has me really looking forward to finally sitting down with it, almost thirty years after its original release. It might not have been used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo, but it sounds like it was most certainly not for everyone here. Not that anything ever is, and ain't that the beauty of college radio?

[Comment originally written in red pen, too faded to read, but mentions "Vancouver, BC" and "Nettwerk," their city of origin and record label.]

"I wanna emigrate! I wanna emigrate!"

[Another barely legible comment that seems to have a negative tone, as it starts "Oh well, even Skinny Puppy's..." and then something "dance" something.]

"The puppy remains skinny cos its only nourishment is later day Cab Voltaire."

"Feel a need to go 'D.O.R.'?" [Dance Oriented Rock?]

"Why, I ask why?"

"Why not?"

"Hate to say it, Mugsy, but I don't think their first record was industrial."

"Oh."

"Oh, stop quarrelling, it's great stuff OK?"

"Really! Who cares what 'genre' it fits in? If you like it, that's all that matters! God! By the way: I don't, but so what?"

"Arthur, really, it's a good LP, and as far as the accessibility factor goes, it has been said in some circles that Remission (1st EP) was the more accessible of the two. For the finest dining in Puppy cuisine, I shall recommend the Bites cassette. 7 (seven, count em!) extra cuts, every one a gem. Check it out, by all means."

"No, the track listing's fine w/the exception of 'film' which is on the wrong side. [Not sure what this is in response to.] There isn't a bad cut on this or any of their LP's. The lead singer, Nivek Ogre, sounds like Godzilla on a bad day..."

"Yes, this is great stuff."

"Good boy."

"I tried 'Last Call' at 45 rpm and it sounded almost human."

"That which is sure, sells. These guys oughta at least admit it, anyway."

"Quite simply, it's the best of the industrial scene. They're very intelligent, as you can hear through the 'Assimilate' lyrics. Admit it - they are original. Who else can sing like Nivek Ogre?"

"Anyone with the right signal processing."

"Anyone with enuf of dad's dough to buy a processor. God. Listen to Cabaret Voltaire or Coil for god's sake + hear where their 'original' sound's from."

"Oh yeah?! They're 10 times better than Cab. Voltaire will ever be. I've heard Nivek's voice on TV - an interview on CBC TV - and he doesn't need a 'processor' like Cab Volt's singer. Kiss this!"

"So name your self, coward!"

"Oh god, ya bore. I've met them + they're silly money-sucking boobs w/big hair. Sounds good loud, though. (And besides, I'm a weenie.)"

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