BOYD RICE, who also releases under NON, is an American musician that started releasing his work since 1975. If you read his biography you will quickly find out that he has an obscure and controversial background, but let us not get carried away by that and carry on with his latest release, Back to Mono. With past albums, such as, Terra Incognita and Alarm Agents his work has been categorized as noise, experimental, industrial and post punk. However, Back to Mono may be the noisiest and experimental one of his releases.
Turn Me On Dead Man is the first track of Back to Mono, it starts with a clean sounding guitar playing four chords along with drums, which are probably loops playing for about 3:11 minutes, and on top of it a drone sound produced with guitar distortion. Based on BOYD RICE’s political and possible racist background I suppose that this track lasting exactly 3:11 minutes is no accident due to the meaning of such numbers. Tracks 2 through 9 are pure distortion and strictly noise. Until you play Fire Shall Come, you can hear a heavy drum machine accompanied by lyrics.
The final song, Warm Leatherette, has to be the most listener friendly track compared to the rest of the album, that is, for someone who is not used to hearing so much noise. It has a danceable beat to it and sticky lyrics. The original song was first released by The Normal, in 1978, and many artists have covered it since then (e.g. Trent Reznor, Peter Murphy, Chicks on Speed, etc). BOYD RICE actually covers it quite well.
Overall, this album has a lot of energy and it must be interesting to see in a live setting. However it is difficult to stand if you are not used to listening to just distortion and chaos. It reminded me of Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising with the exception of more guitar riffs and lyrics, with that being said that is what you should expect of this album.