Gloomy. Dreary. Somber. Melancholy. Genius. These are all words that come to mind after listening to Ours‘ debut CD, Distorted Lullabies (DreamWorks). The first listen is the toughest, as the sound is like none other out there today. But like the prick of a heroin needle, it is followed by an unbelievably addictive sensation. The album is as inventive as it is fraught with sad lyrics and ethereal sounds. In creating this record, Ours may have given us some of the most important music of 2001.
The man behind this New Jersey band is Jimmy Gnecco. Not only does he sing and play guitar, he also writes all of the songs and lyrics. His musical influences are reported to range from Michael Jackson to U2. At several moments in the CD, his voice bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Bono’s. Gnecco is blessed with an amazing set of vocal chords that can whip out a beautiful falsetto one second, and unleash a shredding scream the next.
My favorite tune on Distorted Lullabies is called “Drowning.” It is a haunting number that includes menacing drums that, like the heartbeat of a corpse brought back from the dead, beat incessantly. And with lyrics like, “Maybe today, today we die,” it is not easy to get it out of your system. “I’m A Monster” is an autobiographical song that if you do not listen to closely, you might think is quite romantic. It is actually about a boy that was picked on all of his life, and when he finally acquired the strength and courage to stick up for himself, he felt terrible. It is these feelings of guilt, shame, and lack of self-confidence that drive Gnecco to write such beautifully depressing and thought-provoking pieces. “Sometimes” is another dark, powerful, and touching song that features lyrics like, “I give up on the world who gave up on me,” but also features a gleeful interlude with Gnecco singing, “Sometimes, the sun shines.” These brief moments of optimism sparsely located throughout the CD allow the listener to realize the true beauty and insightfullness of these songs.
The groove “Miseryhead” sounds like it could have been written by a Mechanical Animals-era Marilyn Manson. In it, Gnecco sardonically encourages the listener to, “Dance to the sound of my miseryhead.” Another favorite of mine is the tune “Medication,” which mocks modern society’s over-reliance on medication to deal with life’s trials and tribulations. Under the veil of dreamy, astral guitars, Gnecco pleads to a higher power, “This is my final morning, keep all the clouds away.” It creates a surreal ambiance in the listener’s room, as do many songs on this CD. Gnecco has stated that he selectively chose the track order so that the album would have a beginning and an end. On the very final song, “As I Wander,” he sings about being dead and meandering around as a ghost. He leaves the listener with the following aghast disclosure: “Tell everyone don’t be afraid to die/ Tell everyone don’t be afraid to die/ We watch them.”
Distorted Lullabies will be available in stores on May 15, 2001. If you are in search of a completely unprecedented and portentous musical experience, this is the CD for you. But please be aware, you will get addicted.
To order Distorted Lullabies, visit CDNow.com