The Means mean business and this thing rocks like the guitars
are mops and the band is made up of janitors on crank. This
record is ugly, naughty, and nasty.
Sometimes spitting forth chunks of steamline rhyths, other
times stair-stepping matehmeatically through looping chords.
The Means have provided us with a diverse record that is both
aggressive and exciting. The bulk of the songs on “The
Divine Right of Means’ (minus a couple almost poppy
numbers and a sleek, disturbing piano ballad) are pretty much
pa for the Means’ professional-grade course. Call it
swuirrely and inventive or spastic and nerdy (though definitely
dangerous), most of these songs are about as good as it gets
The Means play it abstract and smart with a great hard-rock
intensity. There is a lot of artsy fartsy chance taking that
works, Beatles charming at moments. Mainly, The Means rock.
I hear a lot of The Pixies. Sometimes it sounds like a lost
recording of The Pixies—which, of course, bugs me. I
got a chip about bands riding around on other people's shaft
of light. When THE DIVINE RIGHT OF MEANS is at its best is
when The Means is getting ultra-weird. The two-minute ending
on "Charlize Theron (Blast Majesty)" is very creative
minimalism. The disc's big surprise is track 13, "Honey
Bayonet", a convincing piano and voice tune. THE DIVINE
RIGHT OF MEANS is a masterpiece in some ways. I believe The
Means love this album. Their heart is in the mix. What more
do you want?
-H. Barry Zimmerman
Columbus, Ohio's The Means follow up their debut album (Vil/Viol)
with an even stronger release. Recorded on and off during
2002 and 2003, The Divine Right of Means is a heavy dose of
smart and intense rock. While the band's harsh assault may
initially sound like a thousand others, upon closer inspection
it becomes clear that these guys are playing some rather complicated
and unusual material. And while the vocalist is a screamer
(and man, what a screamer he is), he actually manages to carry
a tune while tearing his vocal chords to shreds. In addition
to the loud stuff, The Means also include some unexpected
twists this time around...most notably the unnamed seventh
track...which has a spooky, moody sound (musically not unlike
The Residents). Obviously destined for obscurity, The Means
are playing for a small, select crowd. Most folks will hate
'em...but their diehard fans will most likely remain loyal
for many years to come. Strange out-of-control rockers include
"Dear Hendrie," "Australians," and "Campaign
Blvd." (Rating: 5)
Chin Music #7
The actress Charlize Theron won her academy award not only
due to a spectacular performance, but also due to the effect
that her transformation - a delicate beauty into a homicidal
monster - had on audiences. Makeup artists spent hours applying
a leathery hide to the former fashion model to complete said
transformation. The power in the role and in her performance
lies in the fact that somewhere, underneath that monster,
there lived a scared, vulnerable, delicate beauty. Track 12
of The Means’ “The Divine Right of Means”
is named in honor of Ms. Theron and plays out like a hardcore
CD stuck on skip. A true monster of a song deformed into a
demented version of itself; fractured and pieced back together
before being electrified into life and stumbling around after
local townspeople. At first listen, this track, along with
the rest of the album, appears muddled and monochromatic:
heavy guitar, pounding rhythm section and a screaming lead
singer all producing a wallpaper of noise. Upon further listens,
however, the songwriting blossoms into something a little
more sophisticated. There’s an ugliness and a sloppiness
to the music that spills out and then is neatly reigned back
in by a contrasting minimalist approach to production. A spastic,
freeform hardcore jam transformed into a single drum beat
counting out a low-voiced incantation. A bossa-nova beat here,
a Hammond organ there, a gothic swampiness here, a French
children’s song there, and then here, after so much
thundering noise, a piano ballad worthy of Billy Joel. Throughout,
sonic ingredients such as chatter from a television, banter
from the recording studio or a muffled snippet of a movie
soundtrack are thrown in to fill in the holes and fuse the
album into a complete experience. One suspects The Means have
more in store for us than the cold, hard front they project.
In fact, the general impression is that with many of the pieces
there is a delicate melody living inside the monster, clawing
its way out through the leathery hide. by Peter Berkley
There was once this band by the name of the Spiveys; three
gentlemen that formed a truly garage punk band with all of
the ferocity of a pissed off lion. The Spiveys only released
one full length album, titled V, which plays like a half hour
train derailing only to catch the rails again and go merrily
on its way after all is said and done. After his stint as
the Spiveys frontman, Jason Frederick went on to lend his
tormented vocal chords and awesomely raucous guitar to a new
band by the name of The Means. The Means picked up where the
Spiveys left off, with a more focused sound, but with the
same ferocity as before, if not more.
On their third full length effort, second on Doubleplusgood
Records, Divine Right of Means, The Means trade in some of
their raucous tendencies to adopt more of a swagger. The ass
kicking starts with “Dear Hendrie” and continues
straight on into “Australians” for good measure.
Dual guitars pummel the ears with dissonant melodies and the
bass and drums pound away with little regard for anything
but creating balls out rock.
“Fitzpatrick” shows off The Means’ ultra
cool swagger with a slowed down guitar rocker. The Means have
listened to their fair share of Iggy Pop and the Stooges and
the MC5, which comes through on Divine Right in a very good
way. Of all of the garage rock being thrown around referencing
the Stooges and the MC5 as influences, I have yet to hear
anyone that does either of these bands justice to the extent
that I hear The Means giving love to these seminal groups.
The Means’ raw emotion and energy are a welcome port
in a sea of mediocrity when it comes to garage rock. Divine
Right’s high point is “Cheap Whine”, a combination
of sauntering guitar lines, half sung vocals and all out rock.
With any true rock and roll band the main draw is going to
be between the vocals and guitars. The Means are not different;
Jason Frederick’s screams and half sung vocals are the
heart beat of this band, meanwhile the guitars distorted melodies
howl. The bass and drums provide a larger than life low end
adding to the chaos that is The Means on Divine Right.
The Means hone in their rock assault on Divine Right of Means,
balancing all out rock with a more controlled approach, that
finds them firing on all cylinders creating a total rock experience.
You may not have ever heard of The Means, but there are definitely
worth taking a look into and a chance on.
"The Means" I thought, "So is this like the
Œmeans' to an end or is this like the opposite of nice?"
Clearly it's the latter. "Dear Hendrie," the first
cut on this 14-song disc is like the 2004 version of "Mother"
by the Police. It's slow, heavy, loud and it smacks you in
the face. Then when you need to catch your breath, "Australians!"
kicks in and you know you're in for a first-class shit-kicking.
This is heavy without being stupid. Some bands are heavy just
to be heavy but The Means don't play that way. They're heavy
but the songs are tight and an absolute blast. Even a slower
song like "Fitzpatrick" is heavy but mellow. Make
sense? It won't until you hear it. "Alright That Down"
is just an effing great song. I could go on and on but I'd
rather listen to this without the annoying sound of my keyboard.
Buy this. It's 14 songs! You can't beat it! (SH)