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NEW Violent Femmes - New Times (CD)

3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 11.81
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Violent Femmes ~ New Times

Customer Reviews

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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
New Times is an entirely appropriate title for this most eclectic of albums from a most eclectic band. The Violent Femmes have changed quite visibly with the exit of Victor DeLorenzo and the entrance of Guy Hoffman on drums. I'll admit it took a few listens for this CD to really start appealing to me. There is a lot of experimental stuff going on here, with individual songs sometimes going off in about three distinct directions over the course of four or five minutes. The overall sound is markedly different in several places from what the Violent Femmes had done up to this point, with drums and deep bass beats often giving rise to a substantive, weighty atmosphere of surrealism and implicit melancholia. The guys have long played around with unique musical jam sessions of high strangeness, but they really indulge themselves on New Times. A number of instruments I haven't even heard of (e.g., noseflute, tranceaphone, theremin, baglama) figure large in the music. Several songs end with extended periods of cacophonous orgies of sound, but the most unusual of all selections is the song Machine. Here, Gano recites unusual lyrics about building a machine to take over the world while something akin to electronic synthesizers pushes the song along; much more than throwaway experimentation, Machine does offer a serious message roiling around in its deep undercurrents of frustration. Agamemnon is another unusual song, ending with Gano literally shouting in the background.
There really are some great songs included on this CD. Don't Start Me on the Liquor is a typically fun Violent Femmes opening number. New Times, Breakin' Up, and 4 Seasons have a modernized yet vintage Femmes sound to them. I'm Nothin' is spectacular, foregoing everything except Gano's voice and guitar in its presentation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special but still classic Femmes. July 15 2002
Format:Audio CD
This was the first album released after the retrospective compilation, Add It Up. It has that classic Femmes sound, acoustic-based songs with the simplest of instrumentation all tied together by Gordon Gano's timid teenage boy voice and laugh-a-minute lyrics. It lacks the youthful spark of earlier Femmes albums, but I think most fans would still be satisfied with it. "Breakin' Up", "4 Seasons", "Machine", and "I Saw You In The Crowd" are probably the best tracks on the album.
"Machine" is truly one of the most hilarious songs I've ever heard. It has really bad drum machine and synth sounds that are accented by Gordon's deadpan delivery (he actually just speaks rather than singing) of the following lyrics: "I got a machine and I took over the world in one weekend. I did it because I was looking for a project, and it was either take over the world or learn French. So I took over the world. And next weekend, I can learn French." The lyrics are repeated over and over and pretty soon there's a robot voice chiming in and saying them too. It just has to be heard to be believed. We always knew the Femmes had a great sense of humor, but this cracks me up more than anything.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hodgepodge Femmes (sans Femmes soul) Dec 21 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Actually, I give it three and three-quarters stars!
For some reason the personalities of the Violent Femmes band members are produced right out of this album. What you have left is a collection of Femmes' songs without the character of the band members. You get the ingeniously sloppy instrumentation and witty and wonderful lyrics but you don't get them! It's like the Femmes with very little of their soul--which is why "Machine" may be an appropriate title for this collection. It is indeed the Violent Femmes Machine at work again. But where are the guys? The songs hold up alright individually, but as the album lacks the presence of the members and no central theme to hold the songs together, listener fatigue becomes a factor.
"Don't Start Me on the Liquor" is a masterful, classic full-power old-time-blues-influenced tune which, after being cranked up about ten times, stays inside you forever.
"New Times" starts "Good morning. Good morning" and as it is the title cut, I can't understand why it doesn't begin the album. Did they think "Don't Start Me on the Liquor" was going to be a hit single? Great lyrics about modern life and lots of shifts of direction. They even sound like "Yes" in the jam!
"Breaking Up" didn't sustain my interest for many listenings. Vocals are interesting and the band really cuts loose in the middle, but somehow the song just lost steam for me.
"Key of 2" retained my interest, though. A great rocker set in a prison about a prison band...
"4 Seasons" sounds like a throw-away tune brought back to life. The Femmes using a sound effector to create the guitar's sound is apparent on this track, adding to the "Machine" feel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, a change of pace is good. Nov. 10 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This album is unquestionably the strangest album that the Femmes have made. In some ways, it is also one of the best. Any expectations must be thrown out of the window if you want to listen to this album. Forget melody, forget lyrics, forget everything that came before. This album is a masterpiece in fun. They obviously went into the studio and said, "What can we do that we've never done before?" The result is a wonderful blend of electronica, acoustic instruments, obscure references, and songs that make you think about the world. "Don't Start Me on the Liquor" begins the album and sets the thrashing tone that follows on many of the tracks. "Machine" is a stand-out track for its sheer simplicity of idea - who wouldn't want to take over the world? "Mirror Mirror" combines sound that hasn't been present in earlier Femmes' works - eastern European folk music. The combination of all of the influences on this album makes it a must-have. Though it doesn't typify the Femmes' sound at all, it makes an incredible diversion.
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