It’s almost foolish to try and list all the genres at play across Sobereyed’s 60 minutes. It has to be experienced, not just described. The band employ guest vocals, cornet solos, and a stellar production team, smartly surrounding themselves with players that also couldn’t care less about which genre is at play.
Without the press release, there’s nothing suggesting that Efrim Manuel Menuck would have taken interest in a celebrity romance. However, there is a dichotomy swirling around Pissing Stars that could also be found on American entertainment news. There’s ugliness and beauty at play simultaneously. One track here is called 'The Beauty of Children and the War Against the Poor'. As a father, he’s got to be positive despite rampant corruption, war, and poverty.
You can’t listen to The Official Body without dancing, which is a blessing and a curse. It’s fun at first, but eventually you’ll need a breather. Seeing the band on their current tour would be the best way to experience these songs. However, if you’re partied out, The Official Body is headache-inducing in its reliance on the UK’s well-established socio-political post-punk tradition.
The seven tracks on L’Orange L’Orange are anything but human sounding. They take their cues from places where the dramatic mind can’t go. Need to take the edge off at the end of your day? Gregg Kowalsky is a fine replacement for a tumbler of bourbon.
No matter how mathematically and compositionally sound the record is, it’s still impossibly heavy and pretty, casting its drama in a thick haze of intermittent drums, neo-classical geekdom, and various other idioms of post rock.Mechanics of Dominion is too heady for its own good, but still holds ground as a wonderful combination of influences and post-genre style. It takes time for it to reveal itself, and it’s usually worth the investment.
Relatives In Descent packs as much content into each song as possible. Within ‘A Private Understanding’ alone, there’s talk of Elvis’ final days, lead-poisoning by snide men in Flint, and Heraclitus the Obscure, a philosopher who cried endlessly about the awful state of the world. If punk rock was originally intended to inflame and inform the underserved masses, Protomartyr haven’t fallen off the mark; just be sure to keep an encyclopaedia next to your headphones.
If you pay close enough attention, you can see the underserved masses finally defenestrating that which Godspeed have been sonically dueling for the past two decades. Even naming the band member by member doesn’t complete the puzzle of intention, since Godspeed You! Black Emperor are much more than the sum of their succinct parts. It’s almost a picture we can hang on the wall of our living room to help remind us of the beauty that can be found in humanity; and how much it’s at stake in the era the band operate in.
Light Information is much more direct and less impressionistic than what we’ve heard before, and the rabbit hole of ideas isn’t as deep. However, Chad has certainly retained his sense of humor: “Should I take the advice of the graffiti on the wall telling me to go suck it?” he asks on “Broken Bell”, almost giving in to defeatism. But, Chad has a wife, daughters, and way too much ingenuity to acquiesce to anyone else’s mantras. “Try to remember as much as I can/and try to keep faith in my fellow man”, he decides cheerfully on closer “Static Shape.”
McMahon doesn’t use fire and brimstone to convey his ideas. He’s got rough drum takes, glaring equalization problems in the guitars, and a tired-sounding voice. These are all he needs. If it weren’t for the loose production, the record would lose much of its charm; and if McMahon was screaming his rhetoric from the pulpit, Golden Juice wouldn’t be as relatable and moving. Any element you could perceive as negative is also a strength.
What’s new about this particular Avey Tare is that the overflow of ideas, lyrics, and themes doesn’t turn spastic and blurry like it has on records past. Eucalyptus, though adventurous, is down to earth and focused. It’s by far the most spiritual Avey Tare has ever sounded (except for the transcendent love on AnCo staple ‘Fireworks’). The pieces of the record are spread out all over the cutting room floor. As you pick them up, they’ll shapeshift and tell their stories whether apocalyptic or teeming with life.