"Faux Depart" remains one of the strongest releases in the Maher Shalal Hash Baz catalog?? that?s what the Yik Yak press release is quoted as saying. If this is true, then Maher is in trouble. For the best part, this sounds like a lacklustre, untrained high school marching band, out of tune and out of beat. I myself wouldn?t normally complain about messy musicianship and untrained sounds, but the problem with it is that it all sounds so contrived. It is as if they are trying to act blas? in an image-conscious sort of way. The vocal-led songs are the only relief from the mind numbing repetition of the instrumental intrusions; and with 22 tracks in 35 minutes, you have a lot of meaningless, unfinished, improved vignettes. It all ends up sounding like an improvised training session, which may have seemed like a good idea when it was originally conceived as a tour companion back in 2003. This was not created for a wider release; it is far too self indulgent?. Even the sticker on the outer case exclaims ?Recorded at Dub Narcotic with members of Deerhoof?, as if to be used as a selling point. If this badly produced and scattered shamble that resembles something like music had been honed and better sculpted, then it might have been worthy of release. It relies too heavily on additional artists, like Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Chris Cohen (Curtains, ex-Deerhoof) and Arrington De Dionjso (Old Time Relijun), and they?re far too ready to announce these newly found members.
This is a rare occasion when a band have gotten together to make a record not for the fans, but for themselves.
Faux Depart? More like a faux pas. 5/10 -- James Clarke (18 September, 2006)