12 Rounds

State Magazine Review of My Big Hero

4 out of 5

12 Rounds is possibly the spookiest act to come out this year. The music is eerily addictive, a wild combination of jazz, techno and industrial music, and the lead singer’s voice is, well, spooky.

On first listening, the CD is a bit of an enigma. The lead singer has a very quirky voice, ranging from jazz singer to what sounds like the eighth dwarf, “Psychotic.” The first time around her voice can be grating, but the farther one gets into the CD, the more fitting and beautiful her voice becomes.

The supporting music is almost continually mellow, but often with an unsettling broken music box quality, especially in “My Big Hero,” which features a toy piano, drums, and a string quartet.

I was often reminded of Massive Attack’s new CD, Mezzanine, which is a great mellow, electronic record. 12 Rounds sounds like Massive Attack lost in a carnival fun house, distorted in all the mirrors.

12 Rounds is the latest addition to Trent Reznor’s record label, Nothing. It’s a nice change from the pounding industrial music of fellow label acts Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. The music doesn’t set out to be spooky, just to be a little different, reveling in sound combinations most bands would shy away from. 12 Rounds isn’t like most other bands, though.

Because it is a Nothing recording artist, Reznor had his hand in producing the CD. As a result, some of the songs have a Nails’ edge, but the music is far from the their aggression and violence.

“Pleasant Smell,” the current single, is also out on a remix CD, with several different takes from Reznor and other Nails engineers.

12 Rounds isn’t for the light hearted. It is really eerie, and at times may be a bit too off the wall for most. The music is all the more riveting for its eccentricity, the kind of CD you put on after midnight and curl up into bed with a good book and Definitely worth checking out.

–Gentry Smith