No Serial Killer – No Serial Killer – Singles Review
Alright. So. At the very least, you can see where my intentions are. I’ve been assured behind the scenes that No Serial Killer has saved their best for last here…and I immediately pushed back against both of those notions upon receiving the music without having listened to that point. If you’ve read the past reviews I’ve written on No Serial Killer from earlier this year, you know I wasn’t really hearing that diversity & versatility as a dominant factor…and over the course of examining the vast majority of what’s now expanded into an EIGHTY-EIGHT song set…yeah man…I was gettin’ a bit worn down in trying to work my way through it earlier this summer. With each experience being more…hmmm…similar to the one before I suppose, and my brain starting to completely get onboard with simulation theory – it was undoubtedly a very, very strange time to start listening to a band that felt like such a deliberate glitch in the matrix. And each time…yup…I honestly just assumed was gonna be the last time; partly because of how I was feeling about the music, and partly because that’s more or less what I was being told each time as well. So for sure – hearing that this will be the ‘last’ of No Serial Killer just kinda makes me chuckle a bit at this point. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t…I dunno…this world gonna keep on turning either way & I’m still gonna be here tomorrow doing whatever it is I think I’m doing, pretending to be an adult.
Oddly enough though…and quite likely because life tends to throw us the challenges it thinks we can handle, or at least occasionally throw us a lifelife…after pushing play…I think I might actually agree. Not with this being the ‘last’ of No Serial Killer – good God no lol…the very notion of that really does get me laughing like the guy you see in the cover art of their album – but this might be the best that I’ve heard from them so far. I could make a strong argument for that, and I’m feelin’ somewhat inclined to do that.
I sat there and stared at the playlist ahead for a moment, breathed in, and thought about what might come back at me. Could No Serial Killer be telling me the truth this time around? I’ve already stated in my previous reviews that I couldn’t even rule out being punked in listening to this full record over the course of time – so really…how much different was this really going to be? I had so many questions; and deep down, I knew the only way to ever get the answers would come from pushing play. Surely they wouldn’t be putting me on AGAIN though, right? Could this be that great reveal we’d been waiting for?
Peering between my trembling fingers…I pushed play and started this NEW experience with No Serial Killer…into the “Lovely Intro” and their strange methods of introducing each track on this record. It was like the countdown had begun as I saw it ticking towards the end of its eight seconds…three…two…one…
…Neo? Is that you?
How did I end up back here in the matrix? I was absolutely sure to take the red pill this time around, didn’t I? Yet here I am…right where I left off…with “Lovely” being exactly like what I remember No Serial Killer sounding like from the music to the vocal melody. Here’s where my life can feel like a record skipping along on repeat…and it’s just a little bizarre if I’m bein’ real with ya – because the thing is, I can’t be the only one who would be experiencing this wild degree of déjà vu in listening to the music of No Serial Killer – everyone involved in the record and these songs would be as well – and that makes it WEIRD. In fact, I know they’re well aware of and conscious of the fact that much of what they do bears massive similarities to pretty much ALL of what they do. It’s kind of like the musical equivalent of an acting exercise, where each person in the circle takes their turn saying “this is a bag” in a different style, or with a different approach, trying to find a million unique ways to spin the one phrase to make it new each time. Don’t get me wrong – there’s value in that – but at the end of the day on a fundamental level, you’d still be listening to a series of people saying “this is a bag” over and over and over, whether it was dramatic, comical, frightened or whatever way they wanted to say it. No Serial Killer can be a lot like that, I ain’t gonna lie to ya – and when “Lovely” started, yes…I was absolutely shit-scared that I was going to be in for exactly what I expected from this band once again. To be fair – I look at things from a lot of different perspectives when I listen to music – and I do my best to consider yours in the process, always. While I might know a ton of No Serial Killer tunes from having listened to this epic set of songs they’ve released online – not everyone has – and were a song like “Lovely” my first experience in having a listen, I’d be a lot more inclined to give it a friendly thumbs up or pass, because it is well-played and as well performed as you’d hope to hear any song be coming through your speakers; and that’s fair to say. Heck, even having had the experience in listening to No Serial Killer as much as I have already, I can still recognize the subtle differences that something like the addition of Tom’s pedal steel guitar makes to a song like “Lovely” in comparison to the rest of their tunes…it’s an essential contribution to this cut for sure. A.K.M. is doin’ his bass piano thing…as reliably as ever…and the same as we’ve heard – their singer Mella puts in a strong & confident performance – she’s “a lovely girl, who shines like a pearl” – who am I to disagree based on what I hear? While it’s probably not a song that’s directly about her, I suspect it’s still just as true of her own character as it would be to any fictional one guiding along the story in this tune. Pedal steel wins the day here though…of course; it’s got a major advantage in being the main uniqueness compared to what I’ve heard from No Serial Killer in the past and it’s insightfully well-played. Lyrically…they downright frighten me with their frankness & sometimes I swear it’s like they’re directly poking us in the ribs as we listen. “Time after time, the words seem to rhyme, it’s a charade, in my own parade. There’s so much to share, while you’re still over there…” #Truth! #AndTheseAreMyConcerns…
But wait…just a moment here…
…I mean it – you gotta sit through the “Delight Of My Life Intro” before you get to the song, of course.
But wait…just another moment here…what…is THIS?
You know something? I might just be inclined to play “Delight Of My Life” again in the future – and perhaps many, many times. THIS…I’m gonna be real with ya…THIS…is not at all what I was expecting to hear from No Serial Killer – and I might actually be in love with this tune right here. I’m not going to argue that “Delight Of My Life” is recreating the wheel overall – but it is a massive departure from just about everything we’ve ever heard from No Serial Killer to this point…this IS the crown jewel as far as my ears are concerned, and a significant breakthrough for this band when it comes right down to it. It’s a stellar use of simple & special ingredients, a focused performance, and stellar execution – melodically, it’s the biggest stretch I’ve heard from No Serial Killer and their creativity…and I really believe there couldn’t possibly be a set of ears listening that wouldn’t hear the positive differences it makes to the degree of appeal. Deb leads the way here with a sensational performance on the microphone that’s undoubtedly the best I’ve heard from her. Vocally, I’ve always been somewhat of a fan of just about every singer that this band has brought in along the way – I’m not always a huge fan of the lyrics I’ve heard or the melodic patterns of the past tunes I’ve listened to, but the vocal tones and professionalism has always been there in singers like Mella, Deb, and Audrey – the latter of whom sings backup on “Delight Of My Life” as well. If I’m being honest with ya, this song sounds like somewhat of a reset; a moment where No Serial Killer decisively chose to do things differently – and I’d be mighty inclined to take a good long look at the results in how people will react to this song, because I highly suspect that how I feel about, will be universal among many. It’s endearing, charming, and noticeably sweet in a way that genuinely works…songs don’t need to be complex to be amazing – they just need to have a sincerity & passion to them that connects, and this cut’s got that goin’ on without question. A lot of that has just about everything to do with Deb – I think she’s done a spectacular job in singing this song – but equally true, is the switch to Jane on the piano here, who also plays the synths/synth bass in this tune as well. The way she’s got the piano shining and complementing the vocal melody is spot-on, and wonderful to listen to – the rest of it all…it works…I don’t know if I’d rant & rave over the rest of the ingredients in this tune in comparison to the lead of Jane on the pinao, but I am stoked about the consistency shared between them all on this tune. Really, aside from the organ added in by Polina and the drums from Caleb…musically, we’re really being directed by one captain in sailing this ship to victory, and perhaps that’s the key…I’m not sure what they’d feel is the main change in what makes the difference in this song’s supreme level of appeal, whether it’s the change of management at the helm, or the full-on switch in sound…maybe it’s both. But heck yeah – I ain’t gonna even try to deny it…I’ve never been anything less than truthful & fair – “Delight Of My Life” is a cut that No Serial Killer should really be proud of, and an undeniable highlight in this 88-song set of theirs – personally, I really like this tune. It draws on the sweetness of 50s/60s melodies through the vocals…adds in a bit more of a modern flair through the synths & the way the piano guides the music…there’s an argument to be made that this is a single-worthy song, or at the least, single-worthy compared to what we’ve heard from No Serial Killer.
“Women R Superb” the “Women R Superb Intro” tells me – again, who would I be to disagree? I’m just here to tell ya what I hear, and I hear that – “Women R Superb” – that is indeed, a fact as far as I know.
I am…going to advocate on behalf of this song as well – I like this last track quite a bit too. “Women R Superb” features a flawless lineup of Jane on the synth bass doin’ her best A.K.M. impersonation, Polina with a more pronounced organ part in this tune, the consistent drums of Caleb, the spellbinding harmonies of Audrey – full-on professional orchestral programming from Eric Castiglia, and vocals “done by someone who is a terrific singer but they prefer to remain nameless.” Alrighty then. Call me crazy but if you put in a performance like this, put your name on it y’all. She sounds absolutely fantastic, and she’s an amazingly soulful fit for this purported ‘last’ chapter in the tales of No Serial Killer – but once again, I’d be stupid at this point not to take their own words at face value – “it ain’t over” – I know it, you know it, and THEY know it too. This final track on their self-titled record ends up playing out kind of like the evil-lives-on themes you see in the classic horror films…or…maybe that’s basically 99% of them whether they’re classic or not as far as I can tell…but you get what I mean. If that implies some kind of finality to ya, then right on hoss. To me, “it ain’t over” certainly implies there’s still potentially more to this story they’ve been weaving together through the eighty-eight tracks of their ginormous album…and I think we’d all be foolish to believe anything otherwise. This WORKS though y’all – I think these hooks are refreshing, built largely around the vocals, and they come out seriously shining in this final track; this is another display of the diversity & versatility they need to stand out track-to-track more than they have in the past and still be cohesive enough in the sound, structure, melody, and theme as they’d want.
So alright No Serial Killer…maybe you DO win this time after all! I might not have been ready to believe it would be the best I’d heard from them at the very beginning of this experience – and I still don’t believe it’ll be the last one I have – but they’ve definitely convinced me there’s more in the tank than we’d found in those first three reviews I’d written on the band earlier this summer. Somewhere in this lineup of three cuts *cough *cough *the last two songs* is the blueprint for a pathway forward that could really work out well for this crew if they did want to continue on…I’d be looking into what works here, and definitely keep building on it. It could be a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder – it could be a legitimate case of the whole band discovering what really works to bring out the best in their music – but by the end of these three tunes…call me crazy cause maybe I am…but I felt like No Serial Killer stumbled into something pretty uniquely special. Were that to continue…well…who knows what might happen? Different concept, different record – new direction & new potential…it could be great!
Time will tell…we’ll have to see down the road…but they ain’t foolin’ me anymore – this “ain’t over” – not at all…not if this is how they’re ending it, on the best highlights and most significant breakthroughs they’ve made so far! This is the launching point for whatever might come next – mark my words y’all.
Listen to music by No Serial Killer at Bandcamp here: https://noserialkiller.bandcamp.com
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