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Past Life Martyred Saints CD
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Past Life Martyred Saints
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Check it out and I am sure you will agree.
within the mould of her mournful muse. Let there be no mistake,
listening to 'Past Life Martyred Saints' is not a walk in the park.
It's dark and difficult and dangerous to know. It's also very good!
There are nine tracks in the collection and Ms Anderson allows us
little respite from her shadowy introspective self-reflections.
'California', a song suggestive, like so many before, of sunshine
and sand and orange juice is here reinvented as a stark industrial
nightmare; her voice emerging like a ghost from the grimy grey
textures of the piano/synth/percussion-based arrangement. With her
opening gambit of 'F*** Calfornia' you just know this isn't going
to be another fancy-free ride down the Pacific Coast Highway!
Opening track 'The Grey Ship' is hardly a barrel of laughs either
but its doleful melody and sand-blasted instrumental elements
make for a curiously affecting listening experience. The central
dirge-like section brought some of the great Peter Hammill's 70's
Bohemian excesses to mind. An exotic mixture of pleasure and pain.
The tiny acapella 'Coda', however, delivers a small glimpse of
ribald (but nonetheless black as night) humour in the gathering gloom.
Ms Anderson seems to be perfectly happy dancing at her own wake!
'Butterfly Knife' is a terrifyingly rough-and-ready invention which,
despite its folksy fugal vocal arrangement, blisters and burns to
the bone. This is un-easy listening of the very finest calibre!
Final track 'Red Star' slips and slides in and out of focus like
a dream. Against a slow, throbbing guitar/drum motif Ms Anderson
delivers what is probably her finest vocal performance in the set.
There is real power and passion at work here. A purifying fire.
(The spirit of Patti Smith was doubtless smiling in the wings!)
A single-minded and uncompromising journey to the heart of darkness.
As other reviewers here have said, there's a very 90's feel to the music, but it doesn't sound dated. The more recent drone influences really bring the sound up to date. Comparisons to Kim Gordon, or Courtney Love are not out of place.
When it comes to the lyrics, this is a deeply dark album, dealing with a whole list of personal issues. From a lyrical perspective this record really reminds me of records such as Perfume Genius's Learning from last year, or Kristin Hersh's Hips & Makers. It's true heart on sleeve stuff.
Not a relaxing listen by any means, you can feel some of the scarring after listening, but is so worth repeated listens.
For me this is the best release of 2011 so far.
The opening track, The Grey Ship, is a perfect example of this. Starting off with and acoustic guitar and a slow chant it develops into a real quite rocky number with horns and guitars working alongside the voice to deliver a heart felt plea before it quiets down. That track is seven minutes long, others are a lot less. Anteroom could be partnered with Nirvana's unplugged, such is the approach. Marked stops me in my tracks every time with just the lyrics. Here she sings 'I wish every time he touched me he left his mark.' You genuinely feel her obsession/love for the object here. Even if it might not be what it seems. The closer, Red Star, is a real throwback to albums where the closing track left you wanting more and slowed down proceedings to let the listener recover. Its a well sequenced piece this. I have mentioned grunge influences a bit here, it does sound like a toned down grunge effort at times but with more instrumentation and slower.
That this well end up on end of year best of lists is beyond doubt. You will struggle to find a better debut this year.
It's not an easy listen and it's stripped of sentiment. take your pulse. But a welcome invention that's endearing. 'I wish every time he touched me left a mark'
romance as dislocation yet post modern.
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