Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gender Neutral

Following queercore to its logical conclusion, Gender Neutral are a quartet of openly bisexual Portland-based musicians. Comprised equally and deliberately of two men and two women, the music they create is frequently far less interesting than the perpetual cloud of scandal that hangs thickly around the group. To the music press and the general public by proxy, their combined output as songwriters and performers is far less important than the novel nature of the band itself. Defying the unwritten rules of Rock Band 101, they have all, at one point or another, dated each other, creating a never-ending stream of rumors, innuendo, and media-fueled speculation as to precisely who will enter into a relationship with whom next.

Gender Neutral do nothing to squelch the barrage of gossip; if anything, they encourage the hype and the frequent denouncement by conservative watchdog groups that inevitable result from it. Recognizing that their limited musical proficiency would likely never grab anyone's attention, they decided instead to reach for the easiest refuge of the minimally talented--a gimmick. This gimmick comes at the expense of their private lives, but some people will eager sacrifice their privacy for the trappings of fame. Frequent public displays of affection between members, spectacular breakups, and promises of ultimate fidelity show with exacting detail that the love life of every member is a bit like a game of relationship musical chairs. It's never known for sure whether these dramatic display of emotion and shifting allegiances are genuine or publicity stunts. Sources close to the band reveal that the line between fantasy and reality has been blurred so often for the sake of sensationalism that members themselves can no longer distinguish the difference between the two.

Gender Neutral quite cleverly describe themselves in every interview as harbingers of a new sub-genre, Androgenesis. No one is quite sure exactly what the style entails or if anyone other than the group itself can be said to adhere to the self-styled new movement. This ploy proves conclusively that just because you're wily enough to coin a neologism describing your style of music doesn't mean you have the talent or competence to back it up. However, in the world of shallow celebrity, that's a revelation that will take years to take a foothold in the public consciousness. In the meantime, people are too busy passing judgment on the internal drama and manufactured strife within the group itself to focus on much else.

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