Rip Smops - Life Is Sad
With sonic explorations ranging from lo-fi, no-fi, noise and jagged, Beefheart-esque riffs, Rip Smops wants you to know that it is ok to feel alone, abandoned, and afraid of the future. "Life is Sad," at least musically, betrays that pessimism. With outsider-artist whimsy, Smops bashes away at tunes, oblivious to standard notions of composition.
Playing all the instruments himself, Smops navigates his own path through the tormented observations and obsessions that artists like Daniel Johnston (without the charm), Wesley Willis (without the profanity and bestiality) and the Shaggs (without the shitty musicianship). Tunes like "you Have Raped Me," "Washing My Time," "Okay To Frown" and "My Heterosexual Girlfriend" alternately amuse, challenge and bemuse. Smops' navel gazing is saved by a sharp and witty musical sense; his tunes toss a lot of ideas into the salad bowl, but most of them gel. What might have been a harrowing record is, at least sonically, filled with some tentative rays of hope.
Rip Smops has had a varied career of travel, suicide attempts, and many stints in bands, including an early version of Low. His form of depression, Dysthymia, prevents him from having too many good days in a row, but it is clear that whatever his mood, he has consistently been an adventurous musical explorer. "Life is Sad" will not reassure you, but it will not bring you down either.
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