“Negative Noise”

By Dr. Abner Mality

I don’t know quite what to make of Child Bite. Listening to this gives me a queasy feeling, like swallowing a wad of tobacco or walking up a down escalator. It’s jarring, weird and deliberately off center. But also I can honestly say there’s nothing else quite like it and with originality being harder to find in music these days than a virgin on a college cheerleading squad, that’s a strong point in its favor.

The word “punk” is one I see used in connection with Child Bite, but don’t expect Agnostic Front, the Casualties or even Green Day here. It is punk in that it is against the established order and a stiff middle finger to the norm but it’s not buzzsaw three-chord stuff. It’s more like jangly art rock gone berserk, something related to Zappa and Beefheart more than the Pistols.  It’s not really heavy, either. No crushing E chord or palm mute overload. The guitar work is surreal and acidic in the extreme! Just listen to some of the warped licks on “Paralytic Phantasm” or “Video Blood”. In fact, I think jazz plays a bigger part in Child Bite’s song structure than either punk or metal. But a resemblance of Voi Vod is not out of the question, either.

Is it listenable? I know I got pretty tired of the constant neurotic jumping around by the time “Negative Noise” wrapped up. The mumbly, mentally disturbed vocals of Shawn Knight fit the music but also wear thin. Expect no “singing” here, but rather something akin to the ramblings of a mental patient.

Do I like Child Bite and “Negative Noise”? Not really. Do I respect their unique oddness and approach to extreme music? Yes, I do. A sonic accompaniment to a complete nervous breakdown…