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Album Review: Mark Sultan - $

Sometimes you hear an album that complete reinvents your opinion of music. Call it genre-pushing, experimental, out of the box, left-field – call it what you will, it happens on very rare occasions. In fact, much more commonly, you hear an album that is so desperate to be all of these things that it becomes a bloated exercise in pretentious self-indulgence that has near no musical merit. Mark Sultan’s ironically titled '$' is one such exercise in musical onanism – an album that listening to see feels like one of the seven labours of Hercules.

Opener “Icicles” takes a mere four minutes to begin, instead consisting of distorted guitars, sparse drumming and the low hum of 8000 bees (I presume). It has the sound of the sort of song even Yoko thought was too shit for the Beatles to record. Perhaps I just don’t get what Mr. Sultan has attempted to do on this, and as sure I am that I hate this album, I know there will be people throwing this on their AOTY list and proclaiming it as a modern-masterpiece.

At least “Ten of Hearts” sounds vaguely like a Beach Boys song, albeit one in which Brian Wilson had a stroke half way through and decided to let last over five minutes, which no pop song should ever do. When Sultan actually does rein himself in, like on one of the “best” song son the album “Misery’s Upon Us” the music becomes tolerable, though the incessant slant towards experimentation, evident again on this song, tries its best to ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly functional pop-ditty.

I’m expecting nothing but criticism for this review, but I have not disliked an album as passionately as this one in a long time. It is the worst traits of music, condensed into one pretentious compact disc, though I have no doubt it is pressed on vinyl as well. The only song I have even had any inclination to listen to more than the bare minimum needed to review it was the slightly doo-wop-py “I’ll Be Lovin’ You” which at least shows that Sultan can work in multiple genres.

A muddled, confused, poly-genre mess - which tries so hard to sound different that it sacrifices the enjoyment of the listener to prove that Sultan is capable of doing recording in such a manner.

Highly unrecommended.


'$' by Mark Sultan is available now on Last Gang Records.

Official Website
Mark Sultan on MySpace

Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!