Album Review

Welcome To Mediocrity

Welcome To Mediocrity

by BnP

8 / 10
14th March 2012

Reviewed by Nich Cunningham

I like music that sounds as though it could be a potential by-product of mental illness. Maybe BnP are the punk 13th Floor Elevators of Christchurch? Their new album Welcome to Mediocrity is a shambolic, discursive, obsessive and chaotic affair. Iím making it sound horrible, some people will probably find it horrifying - this may not be accidental, thereís definitely some misanthropy going on. But this album is startlingly good.

What starts out sounding like late 70s / early 80s Wipers-esque punk rock slips into a bludgeoning and confusing collection of songs linked together with samples and drones all alluding to inside jokes that weíre not invited to participate in Ė merely allowed to observe. There are any number of potential musical influences and BnP do exhibit that New Zealand punk sound evident all over the country except Auckland Ė at times messy, often aggressive with plenty of wry wit, self-confident but not taking it too seriously: quintessentially Kiwi.

But BnP remain vague: itís not always clear where they are coming from or where they are going. This is a strategy:  the band is intentionally oblique, just look at the interview elsewhere on this site for example. And just when you think you have them figured out, about half way through the album thereís 'In The Key of Love' sounding like some kind of pissed off Big Star out-take.  The album closes with 'Hurry Up Harry!' which comes across like an Oi binge-drinking anthem. Itís a bit of a mess. And yet somehow it really works. Itís difficult to articulate why: maybe BnP donít filter or maybe thereís a cruel genius behind it all. Maybe Iíve already spent more time thinking about their music than BnP have? Really, whatís important is that Welcome to Mediocrity flies out of left field to deliver an something worth listening to. Itís that simple.

Thereís something instantly appealing about the vibe of this record. I canít say itís a relaxing listen. But contrasted against the safe and predictable musical wallpaper that currently seems to dominate, this album reminds us that music, like most art, must be vibrant, energetic and alive.

Cleanliness, by BnP
From: Welcome To Mediocrity, (2012)

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