Just about running out of excuses to hurl at myself for not finally getting into gear with this site again – and bang, an album emerges that ends up giving me the first real idea for anything in a while… so, without further delay – here’s the first of (hopefully many) short album presentations…
Sporting [pun somewhat intended] the members of Puig Destroyer plus one, by way of Kowloon Walled City, Thrice, and Curl Up And Die, Less Art kinda takes this tormented individual (yours truly) back to circa 1988 and that fabulous first Fugazi EP. And then some!
In a format that ends up being the perfect antidote for all that emo floating around at the moment, (which really doesn’t seem to do anything for me – please, this is not genre-hating or -baiting, it’s probably nothing more than me being too far removed from the particular desperation of youth. I’m still desperate, but in a more tempered, directed way. I no longer rage against the world – simply against humanity itself. My kids seem to like it – the emo – though… but I digress)
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Pessimism As Denial”]We’re surrounded by prophets / who think spilling their guts / is the same thing / as giving blood[/pullquote]
The music is tight and focused as those early post-hardcore classics, but Less Art infuses some metallic components as well as some post-rock dynamics into the mix which really seems to do wonders for the vibe of the compositions, and makes for a seemless blending of what is actually very diverse emotive qualities. Plus, it helps underline the rage with more depressive counterpoints making the whole more in tune with the expressive lyrics.
Mike Minnick‘s vocals are a small masterpiece in itself, delivered with flawless anger, devoid of hope, yet still seething with emotion. Delivered something like a string of one-liners that end up becoming a coherent, yet personal and nihilistic whole, there is a certain rap-feel to the delivery, something that at times even reminds me of some of Sage Francis‘ stuff.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Optimism As Survival”]I’m too curious to kill myself[/pullquote]
More matter with Less Art it might be, but certainly not less than art. Strangled Light is an exciting debut which might well be immediately graspable, but also seems to contain quite enough “below the surface” to have a very lasting appeal, with equal parts sharp edge and blunt hammering power. This album is nothing like having salt sprinkled onto an open wound. It’s more like having that wound torn even more open, then having handfuls of salt forcibly pressed into it in a violent surprise-attack.