Experimental Dental School – Forest Field

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Experimental Dental School - Forest Field

After years of relentless struggling, it seems that Experimental Dental School has successfully figured out how to work something which has eluded many since the beginning of time. This, of course, being child safety locks on pharmaceuticals.

The resulting drugged-out terror that they’ve released features a multitude of static, guitar squealing (there really isn’t a better word choice in this situation), and keyboard bubbling, that I’m sure would somehow be more enjoyable if it was performed live. Jesse Hall muscles the guitars while Shoko Horikawa thumps away on the drums, forming a messy two-piece which is like an experiment in gifted education gone wrong. When not blowing their money on effects petals or engaging in Socratic seminars over the correct usage of the phrase “Freaky Styley,” they are probably playing some small, dingy club that’s disconcertingly close to your residence.

Their latest foray into the world of experimental rock, Forest Field is a trippy compilation of la-la-la dance in the shower songs involving multilayered samples tracks, a custom “guitar-o-bass”, and some serious DayQuil overdosage. Boasting a plentitude of musical influences, and the ever-popular “Basement Production Standards,” this release is fun and whimsical, but its redundancy, lack of variation, and the fact that every song sounds like an outtake of the song preceding it, makes the album a victim of what leading scientists have recently dubbed “Ratatat Syndrome.”

The ten short, aggressive tracks on this LP are all being given away for free on the band’s website, either as some sort of promotion, or a plea for mercy; you be the jury. The consolation for this slightly underwhelming release is the gorgeous “Royal Fantasy Snow,” which features such overt eclecticism that it necessitates paragraphs of its very own.

I almost hate myself for loving this track. It features everything about weird music that I abhor: video game samples (Zelda? No thank you…), repeated single syllable words (la-la-la-la, fa-fa-fa, yeah-yeah-yeah), and guitar distortion (hey, next time you plug in, make sure you’re plugged in ALL THE WAY). And I have a feeling that with this track, Experimental Dentist School is not trying to “push the boundaries of music,” or “flirt with genius,” or any such trademarked string of AllMusicGuide buzzwords. Instead, I think that they may just be making music just for the sake of alienating people. Just for the sake of being as strange as possible. And this is what bugs me the most. Yet somehow, it is extremely enjoyable.

But I still can’t shake that bad feeling. It’s like those annoying kids in your class who wear Japanime kitten ears or super skeet cardigans just to be weird for the sake of being weird. “I have chosen to reject mainstream society and be an individual.” No you haven’t. You’ve been KICKED OUT. Nobody loves you; the exceptions being your cat and demographic-targeting nicotine advertisers.

Leading into this listening experience I had no idea what was coming at me, but in retrospect, I know that I certainly wasn’t ready for it. Odd balances of distortion and clarity, contrasting gravely and sweet voices, eruptions of painful squealing…it’s kind of like a little surprise birthday party. It would make my day to see some club bill this band by accident.