CD Reviews:
The Resurrectionists
Alive Again and Greatest Benefit to the Greatest Number

By Dan Cameron

Don’t worry, Resurrectionists fans: what might appear to be the obligatory live album alongside a greatest hits package turns out to be nothing of the sort. Then again, since previous Resurrectionists releases have been modeled on the format of Christian metal (Meet Your Maker), electronic goth (Prepare the Sacrifice), and a sort of free jazz/emo hybrid (Indelicate), nobody should be surprised to learn that truth in advertising is pretty low on the list of this band’s priorities. Then again, since the band members have never publicly revealed their names, and their live shows tend to feature dozens of ‘decoy’ musicians (including, at times, robots, mannequins, and even holographs) pretending to perform alongside the real ones, perhaps the point all along has been that the Resurrectionists are never who, or what, they appear to be.

So why, you ask, is this band releasing two CDs at the exact same time? The easy answer is that they are just trying to mess with us. On first listen, though, the answer isn’t so simple, as the two collections of new songs are completely unrelated to each other, and might just as easily have been recorded by different bands. Is this a case of musical schizophrenia, or something more arch and deliberate? Of the two, Alive Again is the livelier recording, featuring heaping doses of 1970s-style guitar boogie over a backdrop that is dissonant, erratic, and sometimes dizzyingly fast. Greatest Benefit is darker, brooding, and less melodic, filled with moaning, unintelligible vocal lines and booming percussion. In general, Alive Again is what might play when you need a suitable soundtrack for a party that has just about reached full-blown anarchy, while Greatest Benefit is the thing to put on when it’s time to light candles and get out the ouija board. The two records contain their share of high points and clunkers, but on the whole The Resurrectionists have shown that they can be both genuinely entertaining and totally confusing, which is all we can probably expect from this perplexing group, who are proud, loud, and filled to overflowing with dirty little secrets.