A.R.E. Weapons | A.R.E. Weapons (Sanctuary Records)

Which brings us to their self-titled debut. A.R.E Weapons have decided to ride the electro-clash trend and fill their album with brutalizing beats fronted by a Beastie Boys–style shriek. In some cases, making music via the DIY approach creates beautiful and exceptional things; in A.R.E. Weapons’ case, it creates cheap and vulgar music.

New York City is one of the largest cities in America. It is known for many things, especially its prominent music scene. This is the city that has introduced America—and, for that matter, the world—to bands such as the Ramones, New York Dolls, Blondie, the Strokes, Interpol, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All of these groups at some point were considered to be respectable and some have even moved on to be considered influential. These acts have created huge footsteps to follow. A.R.E. Weapons— a trio consisting Matt McAuley, Brian F. McPeck, and manager/musician Paul Sevingy—is the newest in the lineup of consummate NYC bands, and these deviants don’t measure up.

The truth is, A.R.E Weapons aren’t really the latest band on the NYC music scene. They first made their debut in 2000 and were quickly dubbed “the next big thing.” The New York elite attended their shows; everyone from college students, to gallery owners, models, and even actresses were there. Soon a self-produced, self-released demo fell into Jarvis Cocker’s hand, via Chloe Sevingy (yes, they are related). Before long, Cocker took the demo to the folks at Rough Trade and almost instantaneously, A.R.E. Weapons had a record deal.

Which brings us to their self-titled debut. A.R.E Weapons have decided to ride the electro-clash trend and fill their album with brutalizing beats fronted by a Beastie Boys–style shriek. In some cases, making music via the DIY approach creates beautiful and exceptional things; in A.R.E. Weapons’ case, it creates cheap and vulgar music.

This album begins with “Don’t Be Scared.” McPeck reassuringly howls through this song, “Dude, it’s cool” and lets you know that it’s OK that you’re a loser. “Strange Dust” is trying to be the drug anthem of the 21st century, although it sounds like a terrible comedown with its slow, repetitive beats and discordant vocals. “Headbanger Face” is filled with McPeck’s guttural voice and is reminiscent of an Andrew W.K. song; “When it’s time to party, we will party hard” is replaced by “Bang your head to this all you misfits.” “Black Mercedes” is filled with abhorrent beats and unstable gibberish. Probably the most inane song on the album, “Fuck You, Pay Me” is not only totally pointless, but paraphrases a Lou Reed classic, “Walk on the Wild Side,” to make it seem more viable.

Overall, this album isn’t about talent or being avant-garde. The music isn’t original or groundbreaking. This album is about a trio of famewhores who had good connections. They have crafted an album that is arid and pompous. A.R.E. Weapons just wanted to make a quick buck. This is not the way to become on New York City’s inspiring bands. A.R.E. Weapons are on the path to becoming one of NYC’s forgettable bands, and if they keep making music like this, let’s hope they stay there.

 

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