I get the sense that I'm supposed to like Stereo Total's music. Never mind if I do or not, but I get the distinct feeling that this is what being cool is all about. "Do The Bambi," the Franco-German duo's latest album, is sort of...well, let me quote directly from the Kill Rock Stars press release: "a mixture of kitsch and being fucked up. A lot of the record is about film history and the longing for love." Okey Dokey. I'll just share one more quote with you, only because it's one of the most ludicrously entertaining press releases I've ever received with a cd: "Do The Bambi" means, "show the beautiful eyes beneath your long lashes and rescue me from the inferno of my ego in this sad and mean world." Alas, we soldier on.
To pretend that the nineteen songs on "Do The Bambi" represent the apex of irony in a seemingly post-ironic world is a bit too much to swallow. What we should be asking ourselves is this; by holding the superficial and artificial aspects of Western culture up as the foundation for some kind of post-modern "Art-pop," are we really freeing ourselves or simply becoming more deeply mired in it by pretending we're ridiculing it and therefore, somehow above it?
I was going to say that Stereo Total's music is for people who don't like music, but that would be unfair and holier-than-thou. Like the bonehead reviewer who said that if you didn't love "Do The Bambi," it would be like cursing the sun for shining. We'll call him in a few years and ask him how many times he's listened to "Do The Bambi" since. I listened to the album over a few weeks and began to believe that the entire thing was a scam. That the duo had made an anti-music album that was so silly and ridiculous, that it would be an exercise in "People not wanting to look stupid because they won't admit they don't like it due to the risk of being called an Indie Philistine 101". People want to believe.
Andy Kaufmann knew how to do it probably better than anybody else. He held up a mirror to society's face and made us take a long hard look at how insane everybody and everything is. Even when he let people in on the joke, they refused to let go of the facade he had made them believe in. Stereo Total's "Do The Bambi" doesn't really achieve the same heights. I wish it did. I think the duo is oh-so-serious about what they do, and that in itself is absurd.
So, what about the actual music? Well, if you've just read this review and nodded in agreement with anything I've said, you already have a good idea. If you think I'm an asshole for saying what I've just said, chances are you also have a good idea by now. You probably already know which side you're coming down on. So, there you go. I did love the press release though.
- Mark Horan | 2005-02-15