SSION: Bent — I’d love to see SSION’s live show; frontman Cody Critcheloe has a reputation for flash. The band is often accompanied by props, projections, backup dancers and/or vocalists, and whatever else will entertain the audience. They claim as muses the masters of performance art and gay culture, as well as the music of Iggy Pop and the B-52s. I definitely hear more of a poppy, weird B-52s vibe than Iggy punk in Bent, SSION’s newest release and the center of the band’s current tour, but the value of that may be in the ear of the beholder.
SSION was formed by Critcheloe in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1999. They self-released a bunch of music before signing to a label in 2003. They’ve been busy since then, releasing label LPs and EPs (most recently on Sleazetone Records and Dovecoat) as well as self-produced tracks.
While SSION is known for a raucous, less refined sound, this album takes a more sterile approach. The first two tracks, “Listen 2 the Girls” and “Blonde With U,” are infectious, with a driving bass groove and simple, memorable chorus hooks. But after that the album drags out to 12 tracks, plus four remixes. It’s an earnest and well-produced effort, but other than the spoken-rap in “High” that uses the word “high” as a pun over and over again — including the somewhat puzzling phrase “high menstruation” — there’s not much memorable here. If you’ve heard two songs, you’ve heard the essence of the album… 4/10