Call me unhinged, call me obsessive, call me depressive, call me discomforting, call me any negative adjective you want—even if one of my seven therapists beat you to the punch—but nothing will deter me from creaming my jeans most euphorically and most heinously whenever I hear word that Stephen Brodsky is putting his fingers to a guitar and pressing `record.’ Despite the hiatus of his influential bread and butter Cave In, there has nevertheless been a consistent cavalcade of abusive noise, tasty riffs and syrupy chords alike from all of its members in the form of colorful side projects. After the demise of the Octave Museum, Brodsky teamed up with his longtime bandmate, who’d been missing in action since the release of Perfect Pitch Black, John-Robert “JR” Conners.
My earliest suspicions of Cave In’s pot usage came to me when I got a moment to talk to Adam McGrath before they played at a crappy Allentown, PA “dance club” and could not answer the seemingly simple question of what was on the set list. Now, Pet Genius seems to confirm that notion in a way. Brodsky has been inclined, for the past seven years if not earlier than that, to play more pop-preening songs that would have fit well on Roman Candle or Figure 8 if Elliott Smith was a more whimsical, cheerier person. Though such elements are present on the album, one cannot ignore the dense black smog of trudging riffage and pounding percussion. Within the album’s consistencies are dabs of eclecticism, however. This is no surprise for anyone who’s been following Brodsky’s career, which moves seemingly in sync with some kind of creative ADD. With the fried riffs also comes tender balladry and some prog tweaks spread throughout the album. Many of the songs have been culled from the mountain of Brodsky’s solo recordings and have existed in one form or another in his occasional live sets.
Okay, so Pet Genius might not actually be genius as far as rock n’ roll opuses go. But, in truth, genius is really just another word for “fucktard” and means precious little to the wigged out, casio-bashing masses whose knees will be magnetized to the pavement by these devastating licks and heartfelt tune-age. While this will more than likely resonate with whatever makes up the Cave In fan base, I encourage more people to venture into their smokey world and drop some greens so Brodsky can at least afford to live in a recording studio for the rest of his life, which I have come to believe he wants more than anything.
The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Kyuss – Blues For the Red Sun
Torche – Torche