Saturday, April 25, 2009

Therapy? - Crooked Timber

'My shame will comfort you...' - Crooked Timber

Blimey, twelfth (!) - and first for a few years - album from Northern Irish melodiscordants. Still vicious, with slashing knife-edge guitar mayhem and caustic currents spewing from the decisive desire to evolve and not stagnate under the dictates of musical climates that offers no cauterization just the stench of decaying open wounds suppurating through society's pressures to constrain oneself and conform. Nasty, broiling distorto-bass fixes you with a stare that has the soul of JJ Burnell and underpins the quietly apoplectic discourses befitting the influence of philosopher Immanuel Kant (“From the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”) and pummeling drums mesh under their long-standing melodic sensibility, which they never really recaptured after their initial, astounding brace of mini-albums back in the early nineties (Baby Teeth and Pleasure Death) and the faltering full-length debut Troublegum. Ranging from the New Model Army being drilled by Ministry on Enjoy The Struggle to Clowns Galore coruscating with Big Black harmonic disdain, onto almost Duran Duran style atmospherics dismembered and squished into Exiles and Blacken The Page, by way of epic martial stomp I Told You I Was Ill, this strides proudly, grimly and resplendent in grime-stained, slimy glory ahead of much rock and metal around at present. Throughout there’s a poise and a sense, if not strength, of purpose that may or may not reflect the thoughtful tack they’ve taken that acts as a successful counterpoint to the churning, angular attack in the musical tension and conflict. The faithful can rest assured though that no pandering to Killers style sap-pop has taken place amidst head therapissed(off) Andy Cairns. Still bitter, still twisted and ever so slightly sinister too. Whether such withering cynicism can cross no-man’s-land and beyond their usual slipstream and corral any new audience remains to be seen but in today’s stifling hegemony it wouldn’t be in any way undeserved as this is a refreshing blast of bleak stink that stands alone. And that’s alone and aloft not just alone as in cast adrift.
Stu Gibson

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