Cleveland group Ken Rei's album "Wearing Sweatpants" uses harsh-sounding electronics, occasional noise, and mock-rapping in a way that could be more engaging if it were tempered by less of a sense of superiority on the part of the musicians. I wanted to like the album, but it ultimately left me frustrated. There is a nearly omnipresent sense of irony and of not caring about the music present throughout the CD, as though Ken Rei are trying to be clever or cool, while suggesting that the listener also needs to be clever or cool to get the music, neither of which as far as I can tell are interesting perspectives from which to generate ideas, but are effective in ensuring that those ideas will date.
For example, the title of the album itself is absurd without having a meaning behind it to redeem its absurdity—if satire is someone's intention, there has to first be a target to satirize—and the group's use of what sounds like nostalgic video game noises as part of the music gives the impression of a cliché designed not to look like a cliché. I understand the sense of humor presented here, but music that wholly relies on someone "getting it"—especially when the listener actually does "get it"—is aggravating in the extreme and quickly turns into intellectual one-upsmanship. This dismissive quality is a giant gamble on the part of Ken Rei, because in order to work it would have to compensate the listener with equally compelling ideas, but something with the name "Wearing Sweatpants" isn't going to do that. 4/10 -- Jordan Anderson (1 September, 2010)