Spin Magazine's Sound Files Review of Verfrumdungseffekt
by Douglas Wolk

... For true Mag Fields obsessiveness, though, there's Verfrumdungseffekt: The Songs of Stephin Merritt (free-music.com/merritt/), a full-length, original album in MP3 form, complete with dowloadable booklet and tray card for the CD burners among us. Eighteen of Merritt's songs get covered by enthusiastic amateurs, a couple of whom take the samizdat format a bit too far--samples from The Love Boat's theme drift through Supermarket's "Love Is Lighter Than Air," and Cookie Galore's arrangement of "With Whom To Dance" keeps wandering out of tune and into deep lounge-lizard territory.

Verfrumdungseffekt contributors Love, Execution Style, from Johnson City, Tennessee, make a nice offer at gg.wiw.org/custom.html: they will write and record a song to your specifications for five bucks. Some of their own songs are up at the site, and several dozen more appear on their charming CD Nameless (available through mail order), which switches off between pathologically shy click-and-drag-and-strum tunes that owe a lot to Merritt, messy little noise pieces, and rough approximations of spy-movie wah-wha soundtracking. It's also got some of the songs-for-hire, including a mod instrumental theme for an Internet service provider and a lullaby that turns into a boppy sing-along about one patron and his baby. The band may never see the inside of a real studio, but they're going straight to heaven.

[Note: For those who can't figure out how this relates to Rusty Spell and The Mnemonic Devices, both groups contributed three songs to Verfrumdungseffekt. Also, Love, Execution Style's very first custom-made song was for Rusty Spell and Debi, otherwise known here as "one patron and his baby." The song is "By the Hummingbird Feeder" and is essential for the Rusty Spell enthusiasts among us.]

Copyright (c) Jan 1999 by Love and Letters Music