Harvey Milk

Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men

Written by: AP on 18/09/2006 17:35:52

As a progressive-minded scribe, I have chosen to challenge my views and preferences with what might come to be the most unusual rock album ever reviewed on this site; The re-release of a timeless work of music that is as far divorced from reality as Dali's paintings. This double-disc (featuring a selection of live songs on the second disc) is frustrating, provocative and heavy, but at the same time, holds the kind of eeriness that Sigur Rós conveys. The music surrounds and engulfs the listener, lingering in the air with slow tunes, dramatic and annoying single piano notes, then suddenly bursts out into heaviness that only lasts a few seconds.

Indeed, Harvey Milk's "Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men" is little short of a masterpiece of modern music, blending progressive rock à la Tool with post-punk elements from Sigur Rós. The album succeeds in stupifying with its every aspect, be it the matte black discs that fail to contain numbers, the romanticized Christian-style cover art, its name, and the failure to have any resemblance or connection of and to the San Fransiscan Harvey Bernard Milk, pronounced homosexual and pursuer of gay rights.

"Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men" is certainly not access for all substance. The first (or what I presume to be the first track on the double-disc) track, "Pinnochio's Example" is so excruciating, annoying and long that it takes more than to subdue one's prejudices to have the courage to keep on listening. Harvey Milk's brilliance is perhaps embedded in that obscene attitude. What follows is an equally demanding bunch of progrock, or whatever the hell else you feel inclined to call it, titled respectively: "Brown Water" and "Plastic Eggs".

The cynicism and moral decadence that shines through in this album can only be described by referring to artists like Adam Green, Moldy Peaches and Bright Eyes. On top of this, the themes explored in the tracks can get overwhelming in their absurdity and randomness; There is sad tunes about eskimos, self-loathing through "I Feel Miserable", heavy tunes like "The Boy With Bosoms" and frustrating compositions of orchestrated noise.

This is probably the first album that has curbed me to admit that I have no fucking idea what it is about, what it is trying to achieve, or why it was made. These are not to be viewed in negative light, because it is the inconceivable randomness, obscurity and absurdity that makes "Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men" so unique. The album is time-consuming and requires absolute objectivity. It fails in everything normal, and succeeds in compiling one of the greatest records of its kind.

Download: The Boy With Bosoms, Plastic Eggs
For the fans of: Sigur Rós, Adam Green, Salvador Dali
Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.09.2006
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Provided by Target ApS

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