iwrestledabearonce

Ruining it for Everybody

01. Next Visible Delicious
02. You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs’ Real Voice
03. Deodorant Can’t Fix Ugly
04. This Head Music Makes My Eyes Rain
05. It Is “Bro” Isn’t It?
06. Gold Jacket, Green Jacket
07. Break It Down Camacho
08. Stay to the Right
09. I’m Gonna Shoot
10. Karate Nipples
11. Button It Up

[07/26/11] 

[Century Media]

iwrestledabearonce are a band that everyone seems to love to hate. Quite the polarizing band, people get fairly passionate about them either way—but somehow I’ve managed to straddle the fence on them since their self-titled EP. I gave their debut album It’s All Happening a fair shake, and while I wasn’t exactly ‘feeling it,’ I didn’t think it was overly offensive or deserving of some of the hatred that it received. However, criticism where it’s due; the music was inconsistent, overly spastic, and vocalist Krysta Cameron seemed to have a problem singing in key. The whole affair felt sloppy, really, and as such I didn’t have high hopes for their followup Ruining it for Everybody—at first anyway.

Ruining it for Everybody certainly feels like an IWABO album, but it’s different in its predecessor in that it’s actually quite good. Much has apparently changed over the last couple of years, and the group of jolly pranksters have crafted a much more mature effort this time around—if you could call it that, I guess. Ruining it for Everyone feels much more focused overall, with a greater emphasis on melody and hooks instead of spastic ‘randomness’ and novelty sound effects for cheap laughs.

Thankfully the band’s infamous slapstick moments are limited to a few isolated incidences. A short rockabilly parody in “You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs’ Real Voices” is ill-advised in its sarcastic vocal delivery presumably (and I could be mistaken) via guitarist Steven Bradley. The band’s genre experiments do work out well in some cases though, as the band explores brief disco and dubstep sections in “Karate Nipples” and the surprisingly tastefully utilized gospel choir in “Deodorant Can’t Fix Ugly,” just to name a few. As always, the band are quick to inform that they’re here to have a good time and not take themselves too seriously, but the band are certainly beginning to find a proper balance. The fluctuations in stylistic tone are much less wild on Ruining it for Everbody, with a general air of prog-tinged metalcore, not entirely unlike their contemporaries in Arsonists Get All The Girls.

The biggest improvement on Ruining it for Everybody seems to be Krysta Cameron’s vocal delivery. While her muffled growls and harsh screams haven’t changed much and have grown on me since It’s All Happening, her singing voice has improved greatly. Her singing tone is a lot smoother—and most importantly—proves herself as quite the competent singer when she chooses to be. Her voice is the source of many haunting vocal passages, proving to be a great asset to the band’s sound where she was once a liability.

I want desperately to take IWABO seriously as musicians, and while Ruining it for Everybody isn’t necessarily a high brow listen, it is by far a step in the right direction. Those who found It’s All Happening to be an abrasive and difficult listen should find plenty worth listening to in Ruining it for Everybody. Of course, those that absolutely loathed the Louisiana noise makers in the past probably won’t be swayed by Ruining if for Everybody — after all, some have likely already made up their minds, having not yet heard it. Either way, there’s an undeniable growth on display, and I’m sold.

iwrestledabearonce – Ruining it for Everybody gets…

4/5

– JR