Release Date: Sep 18, 2012
Record label: Dovecote Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Club/Dance
SSION get called many things — art-punkers, glam-rockers, faggots — all of which are at once accurate descriptors and wholly inadequate. They’re what the Haus of Gaga wishes it could produce, but hey — that’s the difference between “real” and “manufactured” weirdness, right? Well, maybe. I’d argue that the brand of queer punk-pop that Cody Critcheloe’s motley crew of Kansas City queens have to offer is also injected with a certain amount of artifice as well, but instead of “I’m a motorcycle, look at me, I’m so fucking strange,” it’s a more knowing duplicity that feels artful rather than manipulative.
SSION is Kansas City, Missouri freak-scene collective led by charismatic mastermind Cody Critcheloe. He founded SSION while at art school there-- his extracurricular credits include album art for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and music videos for the likes of Liars-- and the band communicates over a wide range of media: campy, trashy music videos that would make John Waters smile; elaborate stage shows involving garish sets and costumes; and the kind of attitude-heavy electro pop that would go over equally well at the gay disco as the queercore dive bar. The question then is how does this stuff hold up outside the disco, without the dance routines or the videos, on its own, as an album? The answer on Bent is: unfortunately, only okay.
Bent, by New York-based underground pop star and video artist Cody Critcheloe, has provided a sleazy soundtrack to gay nightlife since its online release last year. If you already copped the download, there are a couple of incentives to pick up this repackage: the gloriously cruisey cover of Young Marble Giants' Credit In The Straight World and a handful of bonus remixes. While previous SSION (pronounced "shun") efforts have been couched in the terms of DIY rock opera, on Bent Critcheloe focuses more on crafting songs that can compete in the ridiculous world of pop music he so often satirizes.