Amidst the spaced out horns and the sudden vibrancy to make the opening self-titled track for the USELESS EATERS become something physical, there is a level of experimentalism behind the San Francisco group. While staying fairly bare, TEMPORARY MUTILATION is a diverse grouping of sound that reflects well within five total tracks on what it means to re-invent a style of sound.
The USELESS EATERS are approachable through the fuzzed-filter on the record that barely touches thirteen minutes. Opening with a strange arrangement of unclear horns and bass combinations, “Temporary Mutilation” then becomes vivid with the cheerful cling and bounce of xylophone-esque concert bells that add this odd sense of childlike wonder to the sound. The guitars and vocals which are played by Seth Sutton have him describing the mundane 9-5 workings of a draining job, “Clock in, clock out, show me what you gotta do. Clock in, knocked out.”
With a lower-quality recording sound, TEMPORARY MUTILATIONfeels personal and a bit closer, almost as if the band is setting up somewhere for a house show in the basement rather than rocking an arena stage. This could be partially from Kelley Stoltz who was the recording producer for the USELESS EATERS and manipulator of the final sound. It was his over-branching style and ability to form these engaged but shifting entities into one giant continuous mix where the sound is not as close to crisp as it is to relatable.
TEMPORARY MUTILATION is about having fun and trying to separate itself from a specific genre. Genre to the USELESS EATERS is a dead discussion as they use elements of synth pop, punk rock, surf, and just about anything that comes to mind with guitars and percussion. This includes Brendan Hagarty on bass with Miles Luttrell to cover the percussion aspect that has a bigger impact on the sound than the vocalist and guitar combination.
Hearing the bass rumble and the percussion in a blitz on “Car Accident Face,” the track is a much different transition and more of a forward, head-on approach. Creating some chaos behind the sound, USELESS EATERS take the nihilistic lyrics of “I can’t be bothered, I won’t be bothered” to coincide with the more punk styled instrumentation.
Rounding out the sound in a full whirlwind of experimentalism and progressive side, TEMPORARY MUTILATION is one of the records that has a shape-shifting styles. It works in tandem to the tone of the band and of punk influences, but still feels approachable enough to be well-rounded in sound.