So a couple of weeks ago, I heard for the first time the Effigies’ first new record in 400 years, Reside. (It came out in ’07, so I’m late — sue me. Wait, on second thought, please don’t sue me.)
Even though the shimmering tones and arabic modes of original guitarist Earl Lettiq are missed, Bob McNaughton does a fine job. Add to this the rhythmic litigation excellence of the firm of Economou and Zamost and Reside signifies as a pretty remarkable piece of work all the way through. What has me scratching my head is the burial of the album’s best track “Haz-Mat” at the end of the record.
In these lyrics, singer and lyricist John Kezdy brilliantly redevelops Guy Debord and Albert Camus as a synthesized commuter-train passenger persona who regards the billboards, banal mass obsessions and landmarks of the media wasteland as these whip by at ninety miles an hour. Criticism of spectacle isn’t supposed to rock, but Kezdy and company pull it off:
Morning sheets / unfold on the train
Turn from the glass / stare at the page
Review of a billboard / a familiar score
no one is sure / they haven’t seen it before
Spectactles by day and night / Haz-mat pulsing blood of life
Then at night / they fornicate
Camus’ old quote “A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers.” might or might not have been an inspiration here, but it hardly matters. The Effigies are now and have always been a band of modern men who shoulder that particular burden with clear eye and steady hand. I’ve admired their work since I first saw them as a pup in 1982 and I appreciate that they didn’t stop at a single sentence — or 7″.