Album: Jim O'Rourke

Insignificance, Domino
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The Independent Culture

He's a rum cove, Jim O'Rourke – one moment fashioning avant-noise attacks in the company of Sonic Youth or Faust, the next essaying mildly spooky MOR mood-music such as that which made up 1999's lovely Eureka. Compared with that densely layered sonic sponge cake, the mini-album Insignificance is a much more direct, sometimes brutal piece of work, its seven tracks drawing on some of the less fondly remembered fossils of American rock – the intro riff to "All Downhill from Here", for instance, is strikingly reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" – and containing some of the most spiteful lines since "Positively 4th Street". "Looking at you reminds me of looking at the sun/ And how the blind are so damn lucky," he mutters in "Memory Lane", compounding the insult with: "Listening to you reminds me of a motor's endless drone/ And how the deaf are so damn lucky." Clearly, someone has crossed the poor chap badly. Even the title "Good Times" conceals a vituperative outburst, O'Rourke claiming, "It'd be so nice if you weren't here/ Empty air where you used to stand/ Like an empty plate that gets bussed away." And it's lovely to hear from you too, sir! Not for nothing is "Therefore I Am" one of the more approachable cuts, its Velvets-style guitar scrub and ill-fitting falsetto chorus carrying one of the nicer lyrics: "We are on a sinking ship/ I'd like to stay on board/ And shoot the canyons with you." Though, on second thoughts, that's not particularly nice, either.