Rating:
5.2
!T.O.O.H.! - Democratic Solution
13 August 2013


01. Právo
02. Boubelovo Životakončení
03. Lotrova Pomsta
04. Kokarda Pýchy
05. Demokratické Řešení
06. Vítat
07. Marš Pucfleku!
08. Lizzie
09. Konec Kontinentálního Kontejneru [re-recorded version]
10. Z Terária Do Kolumbária [re-recorded version]
11. Aura & Ziata [re-recorded version]
12. Pošťák [re-recorded version]
13. Instrumental


My first impression of Democratic Solution was that it reminded me of the music I would hear while playing "Sonic the Hedgehog" games years ago. It has that bright, cheesy, synthesized feeling that would not be out of place behind many beloved video games of the early '90s. This is not exactly beneficial, however; it has more in common with the soundtrack of a Ukrainian carousel than with a genuine !T.O.O.H.! album.

The guitars - if they are indeed guitars - are so thoroughly distorted that they are rendered nearly indistinguishable from a keyboard stuck on the "1980s pop ballad" setting with the "brassy & sassy" dial turned up to 11. Whatever that lead instrument is, it is so drenched in distortion that individual notes are often lost in a sea of white noise and bright fuzz. Often there are actual keyboards in the background mirroring the guitar parts, which only serve to heighten the impression that this should be coming from a Nintendo 64 rather than a stereo. Meanwhile, the bass is present only as an indistinct rumbling underneath the wall of cheese. It is a constant buzzing, devoid of pitch or melody.

Such instrumentation, while unconventional to say the least, definitely gives Democratic Solution a very unique sound. While the occasional stabs at technical writing often get drowned out by the distortion, the sheer avant-gardism makes for an intriguing listening experience. Though much of the album is unfocused and confused, there are a few decent compositions here; "Kokarda Pýchy" and "Marš Pucfleku!" are cohesive enough to be enjoyable, and the instrumental "Lizzie" takes a break from the unorthodoxy to embrace a more familiar sound. It would be far easier to overlook the unusual approach of the album were it not for the vocals. Aside from a handful of brief growls that sound more like snorting gorillas than anything else, the vocals are entirely clean. More than clean, they are flat, nasally, often off-key and amateurish to the point of discomfort. I have to wonder why they elected to go this route instead of sticking to the style of their previous albums.

Somewhat unfortunately, !T.O.O.H.! offers you the opportunity for direct comparison by re-recording some older tracks in the style of Democratic Solution. Needless to say, the songs are not enhanced by this new sound.

Democratic Solution warranted multiple listens, only out of befuddlement and bemusement. It is a shame that !T.O.O.H.! must offer this as its swansong, but given Humanoid's unfortunate diagnosis as schizophrenic, it seems unlikely that they have any other option. Democratic Solution does not reflect the rest of !T.O.O.H.!'s work very well, nor does it have many merits of its own; it is probably best to leave it well enough alone.

Performance: 5
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 9
Production: 4


Band profile: !T.O.O.H.!
Album: Democratic Solution


 



Written on 20.09.2013 by
ScreamingSteelUS
I'm only in this for the money, fame, glory, power, and personal satisfaction.

In my spare time, I fight dragon-pig-C.H.U.D.s in space.

I feel obligated to use up all of my allotted space, so... nah, I'm out of stuff to say.
More reviews by ScreamingSteelUS ››



Comments

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BreadGod - 20.09.2013 at 00:30  
I agree. This album was a HUGE disappointment.
Unhealer - 20.09.2013 at 04:29  
Well, I think "Konec kontinentálního kontejneru"'s (thank God I'll probably never have to pronounce that) re-recording is pretty awesome. Also:
Quote:
the bass is present only as an indistinct rumbling underneath the wall of cheese. It is a constant buzzing, devoid of pitch or melody.

Really? You are either exaggerating or mistaking the bass for something else.
ScreamingSteelUS - 20.09.2013 at 05:05  
Written by Unhealer on 20.09.2013 at 04:29


Quote:
the bass is present only as an indistinct rumbling underneath the wall of cheese. It is a constant buzzing, devoid of pitch or melody.

Really? You are either exaggerating or mistaking the bass for something else.


Somewhat exaggerating. There are recognizable parts sometimes, but it basically sounds like somebody's stomach growling into the mic.
Rulatore - 20.09.2013 at 14:43  
Originally bad hahaha
Rupert - 20.09.2013 at 21:38  
This would be pretty good video game music if the vocals weren't around.
Lit. - 20.09.2013 at 21:45  
I'm expecting an average score of maybe 7.5 or 8, regardless.
Cause, you know, !T.O.O.H.! is br00tal.
Or, at least, they were.
seafood - 20.09.2013 at 23:54  
I for one like the approach taken as far as production goes, and the overall idea of sound they were going for. But apart from first two songs and "Kokarda Pychy" (though I didn't really gave the rerecordings chance) it's just too slow and tame to be interesting in this format. The album would definitely benefit from harsher vocal style, but I guess Humanoids performance was halted by his diagnosis.

Everything about this album just feels sad and unfortunate to me.
Boxcar Willy - 24.09.2013 at 05:32  
I would have thought schizophrenia would have improved the music.
Mr. Doctor - 24.09.2013 at 07:56  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 24.09.2013 at 05:32
I would have thought schizophrenia would have improved the music.

It probably did throughout the previous albums, this time he got the diagnosis which means: Medications!
Daniell - 24.09.2013 at 12:08  
This is so disappointing.
LeChron James - 29.09.2013 at 07:26  
Just like Joe said, listen to the Duobetic Homunkulus EP. It's what this shoulda sounded like.

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