This review appears in Slant Magazine.
Artist: I Set My Friends on Fire
Album: You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter
Comments: As usual, all the musical problems of the world can be blamed on Soulja Boy.
A while ago, two kids recorded an "electro grindcore" (read: screamo with a drum machine) cover of Soulja Boy's hit "Crank That" and put it on their MySpace. Because of the spectacle of the whole thing and the foolishness of the MySpace generation, the song eventually reached up to 50,000 plays a day, drew the attention of Epitaph and landed the pair, who call themselves I Set My Friends on Fire, a record deal.
Months later, You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter is high in the running for worst album of the year. I don't want to suggest that all grindcore and screamo records are terrible (like any other genre, there exists the good, the average and the bad), but this band is just plain bad. The music aims for brutality and melody, but misses the mark entirely on both counts. The programmed drums give the songs no bottom, and the shrill screams of lead singer Matt Mihana sound more like genre parody than actual singing. This is what Atreyu would sound like if one were to remove all of their musicianship, songwriting sensibility and vocal range.
Slaughter, of course, features their version of "Crank That" as well as an original grindcore rap song called "HXC 2-Step." All I can say is that any album on which "Crank That" is not the worst rap song is bound for failure.
The only—and I mean the only—redeeming quality about I Set My Friends on Fire is that they don't seem to be taking themselves very seriously, and one or two of their lame wordplays did make me smile. "WTFWJD" gets funnier the more I think about it.
But it'll take way more than the occasional chuckle to make Slaughter go down smoothly. This album is to be avoided like the plague. Would not buy again.
Rating: 1 out of 10
Key Tracks: -----
Buy, Steal, Skip: Remember those "plauge" comments?