In the early 2000s, when post-rock was the genre of discussion, there was a band of kids from the Ottawa burbs who were making a kind of artful noise that was balm to teenagers and music geeks. They were called Viscera’s Recital, and they turned rock on its head by using strange time signatures and lyrics that managed to show both their angst and their cleverness.
A particular track called “Ghettoblast” continues to be one of my headphone staples, well after the group disbanded. The lyrics are peculiar to a time and speak of rebellion and awakening activism. “We’ve broken out of our basements to voice an opinion in song,” sings front man Curtis Jones, continuing into the chorus about the need to “get to blast off” — a play on the word ghetto blaster.
The five members of Viscera’s Recital were intense players seemingly amazed by the capabilities of their instruments and microphones. The murky poetry and musical showmanship were a rich combination — the ultimate goal of any songwriter. After all, can a song be great if the beat rocks but the lyrics stink? Can you still expand your mind with rich lyrics and a tired old beat?
By Fateema Sayani