Any indie rock nerd with a respectable seven-inch collection is bound to have some split releases in there somewhere. Whether it’s one of the classic out of print inclusions in the Sub Pop singles club, a `zine novelty, a pair of cleverly coupled covers or even two bands covering each other, the split is a tradition in music geekdom. One single that I always found amusing was the split between Wesley Willis and the Frogs, Wesley Willis’ song being titled “The Frogs” and The Frogs’ titled “Wesley Willis,” and from what I recall, those were pretty much the only lyrics on the thing. Two short sides of vinyl simply weren’t enough for The Mae Shi and Rapider Than Horsepower, however. No, these two spastic art weirdo bands had to go and fill an entire album’s worth of material. Good for them.
Do Not Ignore the Potential, a split release between the LA-based Mae Shi and Indiana locals Rapider Than Horsepower, is a howling, flailing, tripped out batch of art punk, each band bringing their own flavor to the table, beginning with the Mae Shi’s twisted robo-punk with St. Vitus’ Dance. “The Potential” has some powerful and spacey keyboard blips that open the record, while “Remarkably Dirty Animals” mixes Atari melodies with stuttering beatboxes. “Nickel Arcade” takes their sound to a haunting, dirge-like level before turning up the spazz-factor, and “The Bear” is a somewhat melodic, nearly straightforward rock song, if it weren’t for the agonized screeches, which fuck it up just enough to work.
Rapider Than Horsepower have a decidedly more rock sound about them, balancing out the split with more of a guitar presence, and the amusing first track on their half, titled “Split LP with Mae Shi.” “The Real Party” sounds like a real scary party, odd guitar harmonies twisting in and out, like a drunken partygoer stumbling over obstacles in a hallway as other drunken compatriots shout maniacally at him. “OOOOOOOOHHHHHH” delivers a fairly obvious interjectory chorus in an otherwise Les Savy Fav sounding track, albeit one with flute. The band’s singer at times affects a sort of rapping sing-speak which wears thin, but the band’s unconventional mix of post-hardcore and experimentation nonetheless maintains an interesting sound throughout.
As the split single often ends too quickly, Do Not Ignore The Potential offers a more substantial listen. Both bands do ultimately make quite a ruckus, therefore begging the question, `is this split too long?’ Probably, but each half is interesting in its own right, and takes up less space on your shelf. Nothing wrong with that.
Brainiac – Electro Shock for President
Gogogo Airheart – Exittheuxa
Les Savy Fav – 3/5
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.