Those long-promised words on my new favorite band are here with a new, unpublished installment of Virgin Ears. The record – Myxomatosis Failed – can be found here or at Zog 19 October and in the general Midwest at various points in late November.
The rebirth of the CD as a valuable, singular commercial product is beginning, slowly but surely, on the lesser traveled highways and byways frequently pounded by the ever-growing independent music movement in America. In perhaps the best example yet of what the 21st Century record will look like, traveling rock n’ roll minstrels ilyAIMY’s full band debut Myxomatosis Failed is slowly finding CD players quite literally through backpack distribution. Low budget, high value, and eminently replayable, this tense, percussive haunt of ilyAIMY is refreshingly free of pretension, a conspicuous absence of a plague killing contemporary music like a den of boil-covered rabbits.
The first striking distinction of Myxomatosis Failed is the simple rediscovery of the importance of product packaging. The recently popular four-panel cardboard case has been saved from its usual throwaway status with two different panoramic scenes that just make sense with each other, immediately giving the album the air of a complete work as compared to a collection of radio-ready singles. The genuity and ingenuity of the case seems insignificant until compared to the usual rabble popped out by low-budget affairs, where the art is almost an afterthought of the album and more often than not finds more usefulness holding up a pilsner in a dorm room than contributing a statement to the record. ilyAIMY blurs this distinction, providing ample eye candy to facilitate another sense for the listener.
However, for the listener too a unique surprise awaits. Though these troubadours may pass as a folk act, the record is such a distance from Dylan as Normandy is to Newport. More fitting genre placement for the group would be in the growing acoustic tradition beginning with the first less amplified releases from The Deftones, a darker side of your grand-dad’s standby. Blending the soul-stirring speed of full-stroke mariachi with the minor and mathematical progression structures of Mudvayne, these singers of slight R&B inspiration aren’t afraid to rake a little muck; the gut-rending growl of Rob Hinkal marking tracks like Chalk Pit and Loosen as soundly as the alternately sonorous and sultry song of Heather Lloyd on Sever. Succinctly, this Baltimore pair delivers, pound for pound, more actual angst than any three Papa Roach clones combined.
However, the album – like most independent affairs – is not without baggage. The album’s initial coherence begins to unravel by the center of the disc, with the mixture of live, studio, and radio recordings of widely varying production value jarring the record’s continuity making the journey from Track 1 to Track 12 much like a country road in a jeep with a blown suspension. Additionally, several songs begin with riffs that seem a bit too familiar, giving an undue amount of repetition to an already successful formula. But, the prognosis for this disc is far less fatal than those for our unlucky footed furry friends, as these complaints are dwarfed by the immense value of Myxomatosis Failed: a record that is everything that Evanescence could have been.