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Album Review: 00-00 by Unspecified Services

September 3, 2013

noiseUnspecified Services is psychedelic folkie Brian Adam Ant’s new, curiously blank moniker, and to go with it is the even more empty album title 00-00. However, the album is anything but blank, filled with guitars, sound collages, creepy Twilight Zone samples, and Lou Barlow-esque indie rock. Often these disparate elements all happen within the same song, stitched together at the seams.

The world Ant – who you might know as Brian Goldstein, bass player for Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad and Raindeer – conjures on 00-00 is fractured and idiosyncratic. It’s the kind of material you’d imagine Syd Barrett putting out, odd and askew but catchy and immediate at the same time. The first track, “00-00,” is six minutes in three different sections. Washed out guitar and wailing vocals turn to a pleasant instrumental section featuring severely tremolo’d guitars before the track ends with one of 00-00’s catchiest moments with full drums and a memorable hook, “I just want to go home.”

There’s a lot of interesting material here, but the best moments highlight Ant’s powerful voice, such as on highlight “See You Off,” a song stripped down to just acoustic guitar and voice. Ant’s voice has an oddly familiar warble, sounding in some ways like the distillation of every untrained 90s indie rock singer. His voice is unaffected and welcoming, unsteady but adept and beautiful.

While many of 00-00’s standout moments feature just acoustic guitar and voice, the album wouldn’t be as interesting without all the other sounds. At their best the samples and fuller arrangements add to a general psychedelic feel like how the aforementioned Twilight Zone sample sets the tone for a ominous acoustic hum-along on “All Your Cows Are History / Recall Support.” However, there are times when the drums and electric guitars don’t seem to add that much, only disguising the vocals and the lyrics.

These imperfections, however, seem to add to the charm more than they take away. What we end up with is an engaging and enjoyable but flawed record that nicely shows off Ant’s potential and talents.