Exposé Online banner

Carsick Cars — Carsick Cars
(Maybe Mars MAYBE 2.2, 2007, CD)

Snapline — Party's Over Porno Star
(Maybe Mars MAYBE 3.1, 2007, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

Carsick Cars Cover artParty's Over Porno Star Cover art

These two closely related bands represent Beijing's current underground rock scene quite nicely. Both are trios, and they share two musicians: Li Weisi (bass) and Li Qing (drums in Carsick Cars, guitar and keys in Snapline). The Cars are rounded out by Zhang Shouwang on guitars and vocals; Snapline adds Cheng Xi on vocals (and drum machine programming, I think). Like many Beijing bands, they share a fondness for noise, though it manifests in very different ways. The Cars can be roughly thought of as taking after Sonic Youth, with walls of guitar (though considerably less on this album than you'll hear in a live setting). Vocals are a secondary consideration, more yelping and screaming than exactly singing, but surprisingly melodic when presented here. The producers have wisely focused on the more tuneful side of the band, and the result is quite listenable and catchy. The lyrics run 7/3 Chinese / English, though in many cases they’re pretty minimalistic, as on "Zhong Nan Hai," named after a popular brand of cigarette, where he mostly just repeats the title. On several tracks, they drift into long hypnotic riffs, reminding me (probably unintentionally) of Hawkwind in a noisy mood.

Snapline puts much greater emphasis on the vocals. Cheng Xi has a delivery a little reminiscent of early David Byrne. Li Qing's guitar playing is more overtly avant-garde and less rock oriented than what you hear with the Cars, though she has the good sense to play conventional sounds at times to keep the tunes moving along. Drums are unapologetically artificial, going for an esthetic a bit like early Ultravox crossed with Thrill Kill Kult, if you can imagine that. The lyrics are entirely in English, and sung in such a way that the accent is not problematic, though there is an occasional odd turn of phrase. Both CDs feature unusual packaging, with the artwork printed and stuck directly on the jewel cases rather than on paper booklets.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Carsick Cars, Snapline

More info
http://tenzenmen.bandcamp.com/album/carsick-cars
http://tenzenmen.bandcamp.com/album/party-is-over-pornostar

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Masque - Third Ear/Third Eye – Third Ear/Third Eye is this brazen Japanese quintet's first CD release (following a couple of cassette releases in the late 80s, plus contributions to the Canterbury Edge and Jazz Rock sampler...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues