|Inca Ore with Lemon Bear’s Orchestra
The Birds in the Bushes
by Katie Sauro
More often than not, experimental bands try so hard to be different and hip that they just come off as pretentious. The sentiment is, “We’re cooler than you, so we can make incoherent, shitty music, and it doesn’t matter one bit because people are still gonna love it.” And a lot of the time, they’re right. People still buy into it, no matter how horrible the music is, just because Pitchfork or some other site says it’s genius. The hard part is deciphering who is genuinely trying to create something fresh and interesting, and who is just trying to cash in on this strange phenomenon.
Therein lies the problem with Inca Ore. Eva Saelens is definitely more than a little out there, and the music is categorically “experimental.” But is she genuine? Hard to say. Her music is comprised of clanging glasses, pots, and pans that underlie vocals, which by turns, resort to strange meow-sounding lamentations, eerie screams, and shrill, monkey-like chattering. My gut reaction: what the hell is this?
The best song on the album is “Blue Train,” on which Saelens’ vocals can actually be understood – sort of. Her voice is slightly pretty, in an out-of-tune kind of way, and a Native American flute can be heard throughout. It’s almost calming. But then there are just plain scary songs like “Glossolalia the Gift of the Tongue,” where Saelens sounds like she’s being abused and is pleading to be set free, and the darkly sexual “Lucky One.”
So back to the question at hand. Should this be taken seriously as music or as art in general? I won’t be one of those blithering idiots who call bands godsends just because they sound different from almost everything out there, but I will give Saelens props for trying something new. Not to say that I understand what the hell this is about, and not to say that I even enjoy listening to it, because I don’t, but Saelens does seem genuine in her chaotic cacophony. Those who are up to the challenge of listening, I commend you.