Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire just came out with a new album, Ultimate Songs from the Pit. Running under the album is the undercurrent of lovely chiptune melodies, and it features sung vocals with occasional rapping. It dares to go where other indie albums won't: to the friend-zone, to crazy girlfriends, to video games and back again. But the album also has some seriously offensive misogyny, and at times I wondered, "Am I really hearing this?"
"How to Fire a Gun" is a free download, so check it out. It's been redone since the original EP and features a new chiptune solo that I think is just fantastic. "Hipster Hoax" has a new intro beat, "The Other Side of Memphis" is as sweet as ever.
"Boot Straps," a catchy, hard-rockin' song asks what we're all thinking about: "How can we live like this?" and discusses the anguish of working a dead-end job. There's "Princess of Ants," about falling for a cute but lackluster girl.
I didn't know what a "Hobby Model" was until a friend enlightened me: "Hobby models are basically girls who are geeky enough to get into posing as an underdressed character for money." So, there you go. It's a song about that.
"Rarest of Elements," as a woman, made me want to crawl into a hole and hide. Skip that one. I'm hoping it's tongue-in-cheek, especially when the next song opens with: "She don't care about your gamer score / That's just the currency of impotent gods."
The album ends with "Pump Up the Bass," about listening to music loud while writing (which is kind of what I'm doing now), and just sort of stops.
I loved Shael's work on The Grammar Club, but upon multiple listens I couldn't get into this album. It's a love letter to video games, and includes some genuinely good music, but the misogynistic lyrics made me pass.