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Binge Review In The Carolinian

Added April 25, 2000

The April 20, 2000 edition of The Carolinian, which is the newspaper at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, includes a review of Binge's EP Crash. Thanks to Sara Neeves for sending it to me. You can read it below.

Binge Review - Crash
by Jennifer Osborne
Senior Writer

"I have a well-lit office with primary colored furniture and Disney wallpaper. And I always keep my favorite book, 14,000 Things to be Happy About close at hand," says Steve Caton; deceptively playful words from the frontman of the up-and-coming 'It's all a big nothing' band- Binge.

Offering up tales of automobile carnage, guilt, and the foulness of materialism with a healthy dose of guitars, musical intricacies and tight production, the band's three-track EP Crash is sure to satisfy the appetites of art-rockers everywhere.

Hailing from the decadent cement jungles of California, the band has a characteristically cynical attitude toward most everything in them, but manages to stay surprisingly original and completely unpretentious in its critique of metro life. Caton explains of the band's black aura, "having lived in Los Angeles my entire life, I would say the freeway system out here is my [thoughtful pause] Walden Pond." Indeed, the Crash EP is full of knowledgeable observances inspired by bizarre modern imagery.

The first track, "Crash," sets up a long line of urban icons within the EP. Drawing influence from the J. G. Ballard novel of the same name, Caton says the track is written "about a mobile-tragedy from an observer's point of view." Translation- everything about the song, music and lyrics, is as morbidly alluring as blood on the highway.

Strangely poetic, the song's story centers itself around human recklessness and reads, "Striking the vinyl/ The flesh and the metal/ Smoke black and churning/ Gasoline burning/ Crash." Yum. I'd say that rivals even the 'Master of Macabre' himself, Nick Cave.

More strife-in-the-city comes with the industrial groove of "Spirit in the Flesh." The tech-savvy track details the stimulants of large metropolises, followed by a narration of the inevitably deadening affect of their materialism. Lines like, "Roll the dice on a girl in fishnets/ Rob the Feds or the Korean store--Nothing's really obscene--So you take a ride through the haze and the waste/ And brace yourself for a mean aftertaste," lend to the EP's general feel of hopelessness.

A sister theme in "Spirit in the Flesh" is that of desperate belief. Thus, another portion of the track concentrates on awakening the listener to the face of dead faith: "One life to live but no myth to lean on/ You got a belly full of nothing/ And a plastic icon--It's all a lie/ Everything in the show/ But we're so brainwashed/ We just can't let go."

Asked about the theme of the track, Caton replies, "I think it is hard-wired human nature to deceive one's self with cute stories for the purpose of dealing with the pain of existence and all that entails. Including the big, dark, eternal void at the end of this party. Belief is easy. Non-belief is hard."

Another number on Crash is "Shame (for C.R.)." Sounding a bit like Gravity Kills (with Rob Thomas' evil twin on vocals and a similar but better version of Madonna's "Frozen" string movements), "Shame" presents more dead-faith imagery; this time examining deception's foulness through its namesake.

Speaking of deception, I asked Caton, an L.A. man who must be surrounded by false advertising at all hours of the day, what he thought of the biggest 'product' of the last year or so: the nightmare known as Britney Spears. The conversation lead to the obvious, Caton stating, "I find myself wondering what they'll do with all that silicone when she dies. Does it need to be handled according to EPA regulations as it applies to toxic waste clean up or can they just toss it out like any other ordinary garbage?"

How charmingly evil! How can you not love that!

You can find more info on Binge and order the Crash EP at their official site, or request a track from the EP from local college radio stations 90.9 WQFS (Guilford College Radio) and 103.1 WUAG (UNCG Radio). You can also purchase the EP at Gate City Noise on Tate Street, Spin Records on Lawndale Avenue, and Peaches Music and Video on High Point Road.

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