I hope I’m never the victim of identity theft. Melora Creagor got hacked, had her identity stolen and all of her files were corrupted. How do you defend yourself when someone is saying crazy stuff using your name? How do you deal with that level of violation? How do you deal with that sort of psychic trauma?
It’s a cliché that tragedy begets great art. The clichés work because sometimes, they are true.
Melora, working alone in a dank basement studio, created Unknown over a three-week span. The songs are raw and direct. “When you’re traumatized, you take everything as scary/you don’t talk anymore, you just keep it buried” are devastating lines that go to the heart of the experience. On “Unicorn Horn Mounted” Melora uses a big game hunter to illustrate the damage caused by those who take what isn’t rightfully theirs. In the song, the big game hunter gloats over his mounted prize while the unicorn laments being a pathetic, broken down pony with a gory wound on her face, lamenting that her magic is gone.
The most devastating, damning song on the disc is “Psychopathic Logic.” It’s an unblinking look into the empty soul of evil. The psycho lives through a video screen, in a fantasy. I’ve seen these sorts of scenarios play out online over and over. It sends a shiver down my spine.
Unknown is a dark album, but Creagor hasn’t lost her sense of humor. “Emily Dickenson Trophy Letter” tells the story of the Wizard of Oz vs Emily Dickenson in masked wrestling match. OK, there are still gory things preserved in jars of poison, but that wrestling image made me smile.
Unknown is a great record. The words are passionate and possibly the most important that Melora has ever written. The music is sharp, dense and challenging. I get lost in the woody textures of Creagor’s cello. The albums title track is a haunting instrumental where the cello, bass and the wind suggest loss and longing better than any words.
Don’t look for Unknown on iTunes or Spotify or other digital sources. Unknown is available on CD only. As Melora says on her website, “Conceptually, this album doesn’t exist on the Internet. It’s a real and physical thing. Anyone who purchases it is Known to me.”