This Song Is A Mess But So Am I
Church Point, LA
This Song Is A Mess But So Am I is Freddy Rupert, who crafts a confrontational yet dramatic take on IDM/electro/noise that calls to mind goth titans like the Sisters of Mercy and noise legends like Merzbow and Kid606 simultaneously. I think it’s fucking genius. Church Point, LS is, as he puts it, “a document of my life around the time of my mother’s battle with cancer and dealing with her death.” Harrowing and redemptive stuff.
“God and Cancer” starts out ominously with a funeral drum machine, out-of-key whistling, punch-drunk desperate singing of a pitch and tone not unlike Andrew Eldritch — same authority and gravity, but something is very deadly wrong here, no tune, no structure, wailing, gonna lose it. Radio static interference overwhelms any semblance of a song, as the singer disappears from view, choking “I lost my mother” and then … nothing but white noise grief. “Bedridden and Dancing” is an IDM-infected skeleton dance with verses that remind me of the bleak, baroque drama of the Magnetic Fields clashing with uptempo disco/Nintendo breakdown. “Song For Donna Ruppert” almost sounds like Soft Cell at their cyber-torch song best for a couple verses, before degenerating into atonal machine hell — also his pleas of “don’t fail me this time god” come across like a Trent Reznor at his most intense, if Reznor actually had something to be stricken about. At times the mix of eerily chirpy and tinny new wave instrumentation with a truly wracked vocal performance is just… amazing.
On “Happy New Year,” crackling noise effects not unlike a straw being sucked around the dregs of a drink and echoing percussion threaten to overwhelm folky guitar scratching and a naked psalmic vocal. Guitar is plucked carelessly in the beginning of “High Fives For Jamie” and from there evolves into a detuned, but sensitive lo-fi arrangement that recalls early Sebadoh at their most unrestrained. “Psalm 88” is all Radio Shack industrial hell nervous breakdowns — like Skinny Puppy with no money and only one instrument. The rawness of Rupert’s vocals are amazing; total Alan Vega freakout, talksong monologues, screams, vocal free jazz.
“A Heart For Amy” is a tone-pulse amniotic idyll, not unlike the scorched earth of Godflesh’s “Pure II” or Sonic Boom’s EAR transmissions. “Regrets” starts with screaming and growling “just like god” through gritted teeth while classical piano played by an insane person flits through the track, and then suddenly drum machine, electro synths and a devilish falsetto coalesce for a shot at classic electro po(m)p. “Parting Sea” strains against the constraints of the equipment to turn out an amalgam of Nitzer Ebb aggro and decompression-chamber pop. Janus-faced, switching back and forth with a chorus of “wrench it out.”
“X Classical Greg X” has angry answering machine messages soundtracked by classical synth fugues. “The Washington Explorers” breaks the mood with incongruous high NRG dance via dissonance aplenty, and those awesome Richard 23 Euro vocals that Front 242 and Covenant had down so perfectly. “Bones Bones Bones” starts off like a Neubauten outtake with strident steel-strike percussion, snakedriver guitars and echo-y, dramatic vocals — the gasps for breath in between each line, the subtle vibrato, the dark baritone (Eldritch, one might say) — those three elements in trio, nothing else. “A Louisiana Sunset” reflects a brute minimalism along the lines of Martin Rev’s solo work, icy keyboard stabs that sound more like a futuristic alert system and strange suction cup percussion loops. Almost Joy Division in terms of delivery, before it degenerates into a freeform noise collage. Every song seemingly falls apart and decays into a void before falling silent. Is closer “Rest” actually a field recording of his mother’s funeral? Remembrance? Scattering of the ashes? Finished off by a brief snippet of zydeco.
Joy Division meets Whitehouse at the death disco. This kid is one to watch; it’s a shame an album this stunning had to come out of such shitty circumstances.
Mattress Records: www.mattressrecords.com