"Rico sounds like the bastard child of Tom Waits and Kurt Cobain" - Q Magazine. You gotta love Q, once the epitome of cool, now an absolute joke. Rico sounds very little like Kurt Cobain, and wherever they got the Tom Waits comparison from, I wanna know. As a big fan of Tom, I was excited. Then I heard Rico's CD and I was thinking "what the hell?" Aside from sloppy journalism run amok, Rico's album 'Violent Silences' is pretty good.
Sounding more in tune with industrial godfather Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and maybe electro pioneer Gary Numan (especially his later period), this album is a swirling mix of seething electronics, harsh guitar thrashing and snarling vocals. Oh, and a Talking Heads cover. I'm as confused as you are, but his mish-mash reworking of classic 'Psycho Killer' ("fa fa fa faaa faa...") does actually breathe life into an otherwise forgotten classic.
On tracks like album opener 'Dawn Raid' he's fast, he's hard and he makes music that your parents will definitely disapprove of. Maybe that's a good thing, as on other songs like the title track and 'Big Black Sea', he's in downbeat Goth territory, with seedy atmospherics and slow, churning beats.
Album highlight 'Crazier' is a gem for all proper Goth types, not these we-have-eyeliner-and-black-nail-polish-but-listen-to-Good Charlotte poser Goths, with its soaring chorus, its none more black lyrics and its steady, persistent beat, it'll go down well at Rios on a Wednesday, that's for damn sure. (sorry, Bradford in-joke there)
Mixed with furious punk energy and hard rock guitar, Rico sometimes injects a bit of digitally enhanced electro to make sure you're still listening. On 'Kickback' he cuts up a vocal sample of a woman talking, and on album closer 'Forward Motion', it's an acoustic guitar behind cyber fucked vocals and pounding drums.
Its processed beats and computer arty-ness aside, Rico could do with a bit of a tune now and again. And some of his lyrics are pretty suspect. Exhibit A - "I take a hit of laughing gas / and pull your head from up your ass". All sung in one of those generic American accents, reminiscent of the dumber moments of Mr. Reznor's output.
Overall though, this album sounds very polished and accomplished. Anyone hoping that the new Nine Inch Nails album will be here before Christmas 2007 would be advised to check this out in the meantime.