I’d heard a couple of STARRING JANET LEIGH tracks a few years back when some dude at a concerts handed me a demo or a sampler of some sort, and it fell into the “listen once and forget about it” pile, which is currently buried beneath shorts and pants. I remember it being very chaotic, almost DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN (“Calculating Infinity” era) in the sense where the riffs just hit you one after the other with no rhyme nor reason, and the song structures twist and turn in hundred million ways. Ultimately, making sense out of the mess was an exercise in futility at that point, especially after one listen, so I all but forgot STARRING JANET LEIGH existed. Then, the files for their debut album appeared in my email mailbox for me to review...I remembered the apathy that I felt the first time I heard these guys, and was ready for more disappointment. “Another band from that overbloated genre of Mathcore, where every single band tries to re-writing “Under A Running Board” and “Calculating Infinity” but completely misses the point as to why those albums rule”.
To my surprise this is good. Scratch that, this is awesome! I know, a melting pot that consists of Metal, Funk, Hardcore, Jazz, Experimental and Punk sounds like a recipe for disaster, mainly by turning into a pointless clusterfuck of noise, but SJL take this bastard of a sound and are able to forge tunes that are, on the whole, satisfactory. Each of the songs have odd meters coming out left and right with extremely unorthodox song structures with nary a hook nor a catchy riff to hold on to, but there is a great flow within the songs themselves, despite all of the chaos.
Mixed in with all of the crazy Metal/Hardcore/Grindcore music are the interludes that appear out of nowhere yet don’t feel out of place, offering some respite between all of the crazy odd-timed and overly technical bits, while making the inevitable foray back into Metal be all that more violent in contrast. This makes the entire album very enjoyable to listen to, even though after a while a lot of the songs blend into one another.
STARRING JANET LEIGH haven’t done anything remarkably innovative within their subgenre of Metal, but what they have done is do the subgenre WELL. They probably won’t appeal to most people reading this, but give them a shot instead of just scoffing them off as “Jesus, not another one of these bands”. They are well worth your time.
(Online June 18, 2009)