Music » Band of the Week

Sean & Ian

100,000 Years of Sean & Ian (Continual)


One of the giddy pleasures of the 1996 flick I Shot Andy Warhol was the way it portrayed Warhol's famous art collective, the Factory, as a casual refuge from a judgmental society, in which sensitive misfits and dilettantes could languidly indulge their unreflective whims. The joke was that these bumbling bohemians permanently burst so many mainstream aesthetic conventions anyway.

Sean Carney is Cleveland's own Warhol-come-lately. As former editor and publisher of U.S. Rocker, promoter of the "Scam Carnage" concert series, former member of Razak Solar System, and one half of Sean & Ian, he re-creates the Factory's offhand aesthetic everywhere he goes. That's why the synth drums and keyboards here are so gratingly tinny and why the light pop tunes devolve into two long stretches of gnashing electronic noise: They're not working toward the pointed negation of punk, but the slippery play of pop art.

Unlike Warhol, however, Sean & Ian no longer enjoy the luxury of breaking old conventions; they're just recalling new, bohemian ones. Although most numbers are enlivened by subtle flourishes -- such as the jazzy changes and gradual textural shifts in "Anything You Can't Afford to Lose" -- they're largely drowned out by the echoes of Warhol's progeny. There's the deadpan drone of the Velvet Underground, the jagged nonsense of early Pavement, the lo-fi cacophony of early Sebadoh, and the cheesy retro moves of a dozen new-wave revivalists. And now Carney is moving to L.A., the land where pop commerce eats pop art for brunch. Best of luck.

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