Cruise Van Nuys EP
This is Serhal’s 32nd release and this time it’s without guitars. Intriguing!
But, it doesn’t make sense, the juxtaposition of Serhal’s voice and all this synthy nonsense. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love me some synth, but it seems out of place here. It’s as if he was dared to not use a guitar and only use manufactured sounds.
The opener of “Slit His Throat” works, but the sound continues throughout, robbing his rich vocals of their depth; however, compared to the other version I’ve heard, it’s hard to pick a favorite. He’s a way better singer than the accompaniment backing him. The instrumentation for “You’ll Miss Me” sounds like the background music for Beautiful Katamari, a departure from the original version, or at least the alternate version available. “Moon-Eyed Girl” sounds like a video game, too, but just 8-bit and thinner. Chad Serhal’s voice and lyrical content are so much cooler than whatever is playing behind him. It’s forcing a guitar-pickin’ man into an electronic mold — it could either be really awesome or really miss the mark.
What I admired, though, was the incorporation of sound clips from movies like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Last Picture Show. They added just a hint of sentimentality and emphasis to their respective tracks, creating a kind of tapestry of focus, mixing the sound clips.
For first-time listeners, I would listen to his 2007 release The Last Picture Show — with guitars. For those familiar with Serhal, it may be a welcome departure, but for this glib reviewer, my loyalties can be found with his earlier work.