With a distinctly “homemade” feel, The Painful Leg Injuries’ “Backwards, Broken, and Incorrectly” debut on OKS Recordings of North America presents slight, ambient work that barely scrapes the often dull “dark ambient” variety. For “Backwards, Broken, and Incorrectly,” it is the strikingly visual nature of the compositions that saves it from the territory so often claimed by disturbed emo kids sharing a reverb pedal. Even for very un-visual people like myself, Byrne’s sounds are able to conjure mental images of everything from abstract designs to sentient kitchen appliances. Given Byrne’s background as a professor of digital filmmaking, this is not surprising.
A unique aspect of the album is the general unwillingness to go beyond creating these “mental images.” Listeners expecting more conflict or resolution in their music may initially be let down– but it is important to remember that this ISN’T normal music— expecting it to follow convention is missing the point. With the recent release of The Painful Leg Injuries’ sophomore album “If the Devil’s in the Details, Then How Many Details Can You Fit Upon a Match,” it appears even Byrne is unsatisfied– OKS Recordings website is describing the album as having a “more agressive, assertive sound”– which I think may be too bad, because even Brian Eno was never so succinct when presenting a musical and visual setting.
As far as the quality of the actual album, I haven’t had any problems to report. The recording quality isn’t the absolute finest available, but certainly better than the vast majority of small label releases. In fact, the “homemade” quality I referred to earlier has far more to do with the individualistic blend of offbeat electronic sounds, and placement of noises than with technical concerns. As always, I could go for more liner notes, but it is possible the mysterious and pictoric qualities of the work might be lost upon greater examination.