Psycho Babylon

CD Cover The Ids

Review by Darren Gawle

45-second excerpt from "Summer of 1999" (various formats)

Just when you thought that Nettwerk's ulterior motive was to turn the youth of Canada into a bunch of compliant and complacent denizens of Vancouver's cafe instant-culture with their brand of insipid atmospheric pop (the great Nettwerk-Starbuck's conspiracy: remember kids, you heard it here first...), along comes the best band to grace Nettwerk's roster in the last four years.

Sounding familiar to anyone who's a Zolty Cracker fan, the Ids make a name for themselves by virtue of Sean Macdonald's refreshingly free-thinker's point-of-view -- evidently, Sean's seen the face of post-modern revolution, and he thinks it's a joke.

"Do you remember the summer of 1999?
Do you remember dropping acid and going to a riot?
Do you remember not giving a shit what it was about?
Do you remember avoiding each other's glances?"

That's from "Summer of 1999," a tense piece which should make Vancouver's population of flavour-of-the-month activists deservedly uneasy. "Rainbow Enemy" also carries the tone of anti-revolution further by sending up Neil Young-style "the man can't bust our music" slogans and sounding terminally bored with them in the process.

Not that the Ids are totally humourless: "Atomic City" is an exercise in eighties synth-pop, while "Locked in a Room" is a pretty, wistful melody which features a touchingly inept trumpet solo. That, and "Pimps in It" rocks the house like a bunch of gremlins let loose in a marimba factory.

Psycho Babylon may not get the exposure it deserves, and more's the pity because it's one of the most important local products of recent years.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on February 8, 1998

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