The Dramatic Balanced By...

CD Cover Readymade
NO Records

Review by Darren Gawle

As I near the end of my days, hounded by Premier Bruce Allen's secret police, I write this, my final testament to the glorious post-rock revolution of 1998. Naturally, Readymade's opus The Dramatic Balanced By... spins in the background as I commit these final words to posterity. Let us begin...

I clearly remember how the static interrupted the Wallflowers' execrable cover of "Heroes," followed by an eerie, disembodied voice. No, I thought, CFOX listeners would not be getting their daily allotment of re-hashed cock-rock spun by DJ Pavlov and his imploding geriatric inevitable today. The pre-recorded message from the Provisional Army of Lamplighters went on ominously:

"We, the Provisional Army of Lamplighters, under the direction of the benevolent general V.I. Czreb, have seized control of this radio station in the name of the oppressed listening public of Vancouver -- all hail the benevolent general Czreb! General Czreb has decreed the following:
  1. That all visual artwork of a non-social realistic nature is a tool of crypto-bourgeois intellectual oppression and is hereby BANNED. All hail the benevolent general Czreb!

  2. That all music not of a social realistic post-rock nature is hereby deemed counter-revolutionary and hereby BANNED. Hereafter, any person or group thereof found to be listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd shall be summarily SHOT. All hail the benevolent general Czreb!
Brothers and sisters, the struggle will cost many lives and may take many years to complete, but final victory over the forces of lowest common denominator pap shall be ours! All rise and hail the benevolent general Czreb!"

Over the successive months, as Vancouver's music community returned to a post-rock year zero, tears of joy streamed down my face with each truckload of misogynist frat boys and brainless party girls sent to the Annacis Island Artistic Re-Education Centre. Readymade's The Dramatic Balanced By... provided our collective soundtrack that summer, the encapsulation of our collective rage against the atrocities committed by Sony's bio-chemical weapons division.

And what a soundtrack it was. The sudden rush of guitars in "Hamburg" and "Head Falls To Shoulder" -- how like the mass crush of humanity against the barricades! The empowering reverb and distortion-driven monster riffs of "Bloomsbury Boxcutter" and "Lasting Real" -- they still send that rush of adrenaline through my body like that first whiff of tear gas. How we thrilled to the naughty appropriation of O.M.D.-like drum machines in "Wayfinding"! How we chilled to the droning organ in "Dreamt I Fled" that spoke ominously of the massed tanks and infantry not 30 minutes away in Blaine, WA!

No, the idyll couldn't last forever; nor did it. The infiltration began with CIA operatives trained to use terms like 'zed' instead of 'zee' and 'american' instead of 'duh.' After the inevitable invasion and annexation of the Lower Mainland by U.S. troops, the counter-revolution began. The liberated frat boys and party girls laughed in a drunken orgy of schadenfreude as the Electrosonics were hanged from the cenotaph at Hastings and Cambie. The Beans were dismembered and now lie encased in concrete at the bottom of Indian Arm. Quonset simply disappeared. Pipedream did in fact escape, but are now eking out a living playing three sets a night in a converted root cellar in Tirana, Albania.

The only one of the Readymade boys to survive was Arch, condemned to wander the streets witnessing the carnage that he'd helped begin, knowing that he had to carry on while so many of his comrades had perished for nought. You can still see him occasionally, wandering Cordova street, haggard, demented and reeking of gin. "Where is the emotion and conviction?" he mutters to himself incessantly, "Where are the Lamplighters?"

He answered this question himself once, long ago in the summer of 1998: The Lamplighters are Dead.


Artist Contact Info: P.O. Box 36082, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3J 3S9,

First published in Drop-D Magazine on May 29, 1998

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