Published Oct 24, 2014Everyone's favourite culture jammers Negativland are up to their old tricks again, with their first album in six years. Spread over two CDs, It's All In Your Head finds them turning their gaze towards organized religion and belief systems, via their usual cut and paste methodology. They could hardly be described as being subtle here; the album's title spells out their stance, and then the whole thing is packaged in a sticker-adorned bible. Apparently there was also a limited-edition version packaged in a copy of the Qur'an, for the equality's sake.
Taking on religion is nothing new for them (see 1987's "Christianity Is Stupid"), and neither is their approach this time around. They take soundbites and snippets from TV and radio interviews and lectures, then string them together with musical samples and interjections from their many alter egos to create a sound collage. Back in the early days of the group in the '80s, there was very little else like them, but there isn't much in the way of novelty any more. Where Negativland excel is in creating an enthralling narrative, and that is very much the case here.
As the subject matter suggests, it isn't the easiest listen; that's particularly true on the second disc, on which they turn their gaze towards Islam. That said, the most uncomfortable moment comes via the sounds of a faux chimpanzee shaving as a way to prove that evolution is real. But as entertaining as the journey is — and it is — there's no real payoff. Negativland are preaching to the converted here, and nobody is likely to be swayed by It's All In Your Head. (Seeland)