The Great One Is Dead


"It's hard to believe that sixteen years have passed since this disc's release. It's also hard to believe that so little ink, physical or digital, has been spilled to assess its qualities -- of which there are tons. To start with the obvious: there can be no Saccharine Trust without the dark insights of Jack Brewer's lyrics and their nervous, halting delivery. The Great One Is Dead is filled to the brim with both. Brewer's writing often seems to focus on the pain of real world relationships, real world failings, and street level real world life in general. His lyrics have always been far from Utopian in scope. It is within their poetic treatment that these stark realities are often given a kind of grace. Listen to 'Water on the Dance Floor' or 'The Sadness of Apollo' or 'Untitled No. 2 (I Gave Another Dimension the Slip)' for prime examples of his lyrical prowess in these matters. Disaster Amnesiac has often been enthralled by Brewer's lyrical pictures of urban California life. The way old fishermen are described in 'Birthing the Ancestors,' and the ubiquitous liquor store of 'Neruda's Wave,' and the tweaker friend of 'Reggie's Plateau.' These, among others, have often reminded me of similar scenes in my haunts within the Golden State. Praise must also be given to Brewer for his unique, expressive and highly personal vocal style. When you hear Jack Brewer, you know its Jack Brewer. Score one for individuality in the face of boring (industry) standards! On The Great One, Brewer uses varied mic and recording effects to alter the sound of his vocals to great effect, too. Speaking of sound, one would be pressed to find as creative a guitar player as Jack's long-time cohort in Saccharine Trust, Joe Baiza. That is not to say that Baiza's technical prowess is lacking -- it is not. Joe's guitar playing has been in continuous development for thirty-plus years now, as anyone who has followed Saccharine Trust and Universal Congress Of can attest to. From the early, skewed punk rock chord sounds of early S.T. to his later jazz-inflected capital 'L' lead playing of both bands, Baiza has grown as a writer and player, all the while retaining the rawness and edge (hey, it's the blues, once again!) so necessary for effective, impacting, physical oomph that makes for great rock guitar. Joe adds many purely noise/sound effects to his more linear guitar parts on The Great One. These industrial (in the machine/scrap metal sense, not in the NIN/Skinny Puppy spooky dance sense), paired with his dexterous runs, lead and color the tunes. His guitar tone is fuzzy and echo-y, adding to the raw, claustrophobic feel of the overall sound of the disc. Great, disturbing cover illustration from Joe, to boot." Gatefold sleeve.