Zut Alors! Camus, Debord, and Kezdy Get A Metra Pass


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″.

4 Responses to “Zut Alors! Camus, Debord, and Kezdy Get A Metra Pass”

  1. 1 GDD
    January 23, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    How would we re-interpret Camus in the modern age, given that papers are now an afterthough.

    “He fornicated and read Google News”

    Oh, except he never goes out, being strapped to his computer

    “He masturbated and read Google News”

    Except nobody actually reads the news anymore

    “He masturbated and updated his Twitter”

    That sounds about right.

  2. January 23, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Hey Greg! How you doin?

    I gave it the old college try, but I can’t masturbate to that link at all.

    As an aside: the elevator pitch on Twitter is what? “Public chat log”?

    We’re still counting cattle out here, cut us a break with this swanky SEA-TAC nerdery.


  3. 4 GDD
    January 23, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Dude its “microblogging”, get with the times. It’s good you can’t masturbate to that link, it means all hope is not lost.

    Things are fine here, I miss you all very much. Can’t wait to hear the new sounds.

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rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

January 2008

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