One of the aspects of Aqueduct’s (aka David Terry) previous album I Sold Gold that was so intriguing, was the persona he created. It winked you in the eye with songs like "Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights." We instantly knew that Terry believed that he was some sort of Atari gangsta, wielding his one-button joystick in the direction that anyone that crossed him. Any 20-something male listening to that song smiled in delight because deep in his heart, that was how they saw themselves at six-years-old, and Terry’s musical manifesto for not growing up was something they could relate to in a flash.
Aqueduct’s follow-up, Or Give Me Death, feels like Terry has grown up a little bit. Instead of opening with keyboards and a drum machine, he begins with acoustic guitar and solemn piano for "Lying in the Bed I’ve Made," where he talks about singing sorry songs to amuse himself, feeling remorse toward himself and women he has wronged throughout the years. This is quite the opposite of Nintendo assassin we once knew, but once we get to the third track "Broken Records," we’re right back to the persona we loved ("People never change, bitch/Don’t even try"). The album feels like Terry is struggling to have his cake and eat it too, trying to move beyond his 80’s kitschy keyboard hooks to something more substantial. It feels a little schizo, but when it works, the effort achieves the balance between someone who is sensitive and hurt, but trying hard to seem otherwise. Think of Devo remaking Dr. Dre’s "Bitches Ain’t Shit" and you’ll have a good idea… he’s sold gold.