Sunday, May 11, 2008
Sunburned Hand of the Man - Chinese Perfume (Manhand CD-R)
Before discussion of the main topic, Chinese Perfume, a brief bit of sham(eless)/(ful)/(anistic) digressing into the land of self promotion. My band, Herons, has finally released their first CD-R, Chillo Pillo, on our own Heronic Records. It's in a limited edition of 50, and features "6 tracks in 35 minutes of bliss/dementia." Pretty droney, exploratory stuff. Slow-moving cause it has to be, y'know? Anyway, if you're interested in checking it out or want to arrange getting a copy just leave a comment on this post or over at the old Myspacerooski. They're only $5 ppd. Trades are cool too. Also, if I've said a package is on its way, it is, we're just waiting a little longer for the next release so we can cram it with more goodies. Right-ho, on to the good stuff.
In keeping up with the one-Sunburned-a-month pace I seem to have ascribed to, this time around I present a disc which I'm sure has already become yet another member of the vaults of Sunburneds past. I just can't keep up with these guys. Why bother trying, you ask? Because it's a thankless world I recide in, that's why. Anyway, Chinese Perfume is in some ways a real return to form for these guys. Featuring many of the group's usual heavy hitters--Sarah O'Shea, Paul Labrecque, Taylor Richardson, Ron Schneiderman, John Moloney and Rob Thomas--the crew is augmented here by Goz, who apparently is a roadie or something for them. He's credited with vocals and presence, and I'm not sure which it was (perhaps both), but it worked: this is a sprawling Sunburned psych-out jammer that goes most every direction the group can and slays the whole trip through.
The album kicks off--no, scrath that, is spawned from--the opener, "Intimate Woodwork." This creepy number is pretty noisy, all electronics and strange grunting. Dark powers are afoot here, brothers. Actually, it's a pretty off-putting opening number. It doesn't really go much of anywhere for its almost eight minutes, just blubbering around in some weird cauldron as bizarre ghouls circle around and cry out as they operate some pretty heavy duty machinery. Grim stuff.
The next number, "Remote Dickhead Parachute," moves things a bit closer to where they will stay the rest of the album. It's all zoned out psych here, repetitive grooves continuing on into the fog, slowly shifting without losing its rhythmic underbelly. "Night Exam" explores similar, if even psychier territory a la earlier treats like Jaybird or Wild Animal. That signature Rob Thomas bass work, elastic and unendingly taut, keeps the whole thing grounded for strange vocalizations and warm guitar journeys. The following "Chestpain Serenade" is merely a gong being hit and allowed to reverberate, a trend which will reappear throughout the album like the ding at the end of a page in one of those follow along books from yesteryear.
"Iron Language Captive" starts off with Sarah looping some little cry before things go further out with the addition of deeper ramblings from beneath. Drones emit from the deep as percussion rattles along before building into "The Fix is On." Here, Sunburned channel their inner Hawkwind with foreboding spoken word over the percussive workouts of Moloney. This is some serious stuff, you know, "sonic attack on your system" style. Really the meat of the album, it chugs along at a rapid pace that evolves seamlessly, (if not seemlessly). "Convulsion Parody" continues the jams with some jungle style funk, hopping along as snake sounds go by and guitar meanders along the canyons. Like if Funkadelic soundtracked "Heart of Darkness" or something. "Virgin Swirl" is pretty krautrocky stuff, not too far off from Neu! realms; you know, all forward looking, drive into the endless horizon material.
Really, I could go on about any and all of these tracks. The thing is all over the map, 73 minutes of weirdo out-there mind bending stuff. Hell, "Mango Panorama" sounds like a 60s soul band playing right above La Monte Young's explorations in white noise. They'll be grooving along before out of nowhere static takes control for a few clicks before dissipating again. Pop music on Planet Sunburned. The title track really burns along: twelve and a half minutes of percussive heavy rockin with siren like screams and all over the map guitar and electronics lines. The group really has their shit together on this one, and when we finally hear that last bell chime we feel better for it. Or at least weirder. Grab it if you can though, it's limited to 100 copies and sounds great--still can't believe this one was a live show.