Album Cover
Add N to (X)
Loud Like Nature
October 29, 2002


"I am the goat man."

What the hell is "rock" anyway? Does it even have meaning as a valid music genre anymore? It'd be like classifying a specific person by saying they're human. So all these random genres are made up to further sub-classify styles. I guess this is necessary and happens for all genres of music, but it seems to be very prevalent in "rock." Math-rock? Kraut-rock? Proto-punk? Hair metal? Come on now...

That having been complained about, I'm going to classify Add N to (X) as cat-rock, just because I've been wanting to use that for some time now. Most people seem to lump them into the overly broad "electronica" genre. Although true, there's too much more to it to simply leave it at that. Sure, they do wondrous things with old-school synth generators, making for an electronic sound, and sure, they do have quite a bit of deejaying under their belts, but this all stands to pull attention away from what's really at the heart of it all: Rock. More so than a lot of other electronica groups I am familiar with, at least. I'm no music theorist, but this holds place front and center in my mind. It's not simply electronic blips, bloops, and other such annoying sounds, but infact a thoroughly enjoyable mixed pattern of repetitive beats and intricate layers of sound. That sounds a lot like a standard rock theory, if you ask me, with baselines and guitar-work/piano/harmonica/etc. layered on top. The only difference is, none of it actually exists outside of its archaic synthesizer cases. Welcome to the future, I say. And in forming this new genre of cat-rock (which they refer to as "Avant Hard," ergo their 1999 release, Avant Hard) there will obviously be a bit of turbulence and uncertainty, and some albums like Add Insult to Injury (2000) will be produced, but this will not stand in their way. Loud Like Nature pulls full force back to the familiar style that proved to work so well with Avant Hard.

And all that aside, you better be ready to dance, tap appendages, or at least partake in some fluid roaming through your house with the stereo up a couple more notches than usual. Even "Invasion of the Polaroid People" and "Up the Punks," some of the least crazily fast-paced, beat-heavy tracks, will get you up and movin' about. And that's not to say it's completely deejay-style "eternal loop" brand of danceable. "Pink Light," with its three minute crescendo progression into a minimalistic soother, "Total All Out Water," with its rock-style chorus/verse structure, and just the overall intricacy of all the sounds all work together to make it much more than that. But without the tracks like "Sheez Mine" and "Lick a Battery (Tongues Across the Terminals)" and all their dance-techno/IDM glory it just couldn't be as wonderful as it is.

But alas, the system is not perfect. Unlike some other genres where the music is either so wonderful or so unnoticeable that I could listen to it for days on end, this one only holds a brief, say, bi-weekly place in my heart. Certainly, listening to the same album twice in a row would get a bit arduous. Nevertheless, when it comes back around in my playlist, it's sure to catch my attention, and another listen comes into necessity.

So, as we(I) speak(type), cat-rock is ever-growing and will one day become the next big genre all its own. Add N to (X) will be seen as the founders of the new world order of music and will be worshipped as gods. Or perhaps I'm over-exaggerating, who really knows?

Zeff Svoboda

Track List

  1. Total All Out Water
  2. Electric Village
  3. Sheez Mine
  4. Invasion of the Polaroid People
  5. Party Bag
  6. Quantum Leap
  7. Pink Light
  8. Up the Punks
  9. Take Me to Your Leader
  10. Link a Battery (Tongues Across the Terminals)
  11. U Baby
  12. Large Number
  13. All Night Lazy