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The Seconds - Kratitude

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Artist: The Seconds

Album: Kratitude

Label: 5 Rue Christine

Review date: Apr. 30, 2006

It’s been five long years since we last heard from the Seconds. Back in 2001, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (drummer Brian Chase’s other band) were just some other new post-punk band, the new/no wave revival was just beginning with bands like The Ex-Models (guitarist Zach Max’s other band), Erase Errata, and most of the Troubleman Unlimited stable, and living in Willliamsburg was still cool. Back then, there was actually enough time for the Seconds to focus on their craft - their songs may have been short, but they were listening to plenty of Mars and DNA - so the songs on their debut, Y, are more than just art school dropout style noise spasms. In the ensuing five years, all three have been busy with other things: The Ex-Models put out an album, had half the band quit, then redefined themselves as no-wave minimalists; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs became somehow popular; and Jeannie Kwan (the third Second) went to grad school.

So what to say about the Seconds’ second album, Kratitude? While it’s not bad per say, it is certainly lacking in spark. They are just as arty as ever and still sound like the halfway point between Mars and DNA, but everything here seems rushed and a bit forced. Most of the songs center around repeated screaming of the title by some combination of Chase, Kwan, and Max. If you take a step back, it can sound kind of like Bryon Gysin’s collaborations with Steve Lacy, if you replace saxophones with harsh guitar sounds; the words aren’t permutated, but their settings are and the music follows the words in lock step.

Despite the haphazard structures, there is some pretty great instrumental interplay and melody hidden behind the cacophony. The whole thing has a kind of sugar rush quality to it; the songs gain in energy, intensity and insanity before rapidly crashing into the relatively mellow soundscape of “DedicatedtotheoneEye.” This sensation is only increased by the childish album art. In fact, the best analogy here would be to a bunch of children finding some sounds and words they really like and playing them over and over until they get sick of it and move on to the next thing. It’s probably no surprise that Chase, as part of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, was seriously interviewed by preteens Eyeball Skeleton. And if this didn’t feel so thrown together, I would almost call it high-concept art.

By Dan Ruccia

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