The Heroine Sheiks - Rape on the Installment Plan
I only saw the Cows perform live once. They opened for Tool at Chicago's
Aragon Ballroom. At the time, I had never heard a Cows record. I had never
heard about Shannon Selberg's idiosyncracies. Had I bothered to do any
research I would have seen these adjectives I've found used on the web to
describe him: degenerate, free associating, lunacy. I didn't have these
words in mind when I saw him screeching a dissonant bugle solo or engaging
in a bizarre pantomime of beating Jesus during "39 Lashes". Although I was
without adjectives I was disturbed nonetheless. Now, with his new band The
Heroine Sheiks, Selberg has taken the opportunity to disturb me anew.
There are certain albums in my collection that I take special care to guard
from the wrong eyes. I have no problem with owning Anal Cunt records, and I
am particularly proud of my Frogs collection. However, I realize that it is
to my benefit to keep such material away from my loved ones in order to
avoid uncomfortable discussions. These records don't bother me morally or
ethically, and I don't feel guilty for having them. Shannon Selberg is a
different story. Whereas I consider Anal Cunt, the Frogs, Marilyn Manson,
etc. to be completely harmless, I am more or less convinced that Selberg is
a creepy demented maniac. I think I would be genuinely afraid to meet him.
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with this album. In fact, I
think it is the most ADKG-appropriate release that I've listened to during my
short tenure. The Heroine Sheiks' ties to the Cows and Swans are a dead
giveaway of their noise punk roots. Surprisingly, though, the record is quite
coherent. Selberg leaves his bugle alone for most tracks and keeps his vocals
within sensible constraints - a minimum of screaming and no shrieking at all.
The instrumental work departs from the experimental discord of the Cows in
favor of a hardcore punk crunch a la Refused but looser, with an injection of
keyboard weirdness. Of course the focus is not intended to be on anyone but
Selberg, and his lyrics grab attention from the start. I've heard more blatant
examples of racism, mysogyny and violence. Hell, there are more blatant examples
on television all day long. What really scares me is the subtle hints that it
might actually be real. From his records and the rumors that surround him, I
would not be surprised if he were a legitimate psychotic. Try the record and
judge for yourself.
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