Monday, January 6, 2014
The Family Curse "Twilight Language" on Drawing Room Records
I had completely forgotten about this hilarious thread on the Termbo message boards about another band named Family Curse but this full length should finally settled it once and for all - this is the real Family Curse. The one you can’t escape, the one that keeps appearing when things started to go right. Just when that last tragedy is finally over those ugly realities about death and selfishness come back again twice as hard. That’s the kind of overwhelming manic energy you get from Twilight Language. Creepy pieces of The Cramps combined with the energy of the Hot Snakes examining the darker final side of things with punk seances.
A scuzzy looped sound kicks off A-Side’s "No Return". Massive dead drums and fuzzy bass open it’s low end to get layered in a dense massive pile at speed. All the elements right out of the gate already at 10 and with an unhinged higher end feeding this backing melody. It’s a tightly wound track of twangy high strung electric that keeps getting faster and faster, briefly blowing out a chorus in a Deadbolt b-movie style. This is even more dangerous and playing with more pop structures of surf and garage crunch. It’s a fast ride with Erick Bradshaw’s lower register talky delivery out of a creepy echo of haunted vocals. Feel the neon and sunglasses, they might have black leather jackets and juggle daggers in those huge landscapes a la Jesus and Mary Chain peeling back the layers like a scab.
Erick’s delivery on “Julia Armant” tries to blindside you if you don’t know their dynamics. Clackity guitars that pick a little melody to focus on while Erick talks about all the people surrounding Julia; the mortician, the undertaker, all present in this groove jangle pop. Ending up with huge punk energy out of a twitchy nothing, their own kind of arty At The Drive In sound, frantic and way faster than these rails should carry anything. They're desperately trying to escape the literal spirits of hardcore, refusing to give you room to breathe or pause for reflection. This isn't feel good party punk. It’s an occult search for the unexplained punk.
"NY NY NY" is a case for a dark punk sound in a city that can still harbor those unsettling places amidst the corner starbucks. Erick expands complete vocal melodies that feel barely sketched out by the rest of the band in their ever present bashing energy. But it has to do with those breaks, if they gave anything else a chance to get in here who knows what kind of ghosts of punk could be conjured. It's a decidedly pessimistic view of ‘dreams dying on the sidewalk’. No actual people are dying, Manhattan is becoming like the suburbs that you hated and ran from in the first place.
"Memory Sickness" runs with frantic jitters and creaking metal croaks of strings between strums. Erick’s groaning in his lower register horror narration, talking about ghosts walking downtown, obsessed with the dead at this point. Each one of these tracks is an adrenaline jolt waiting to fire up all punk neurons in spasms of muscle. The density comes slamming in like a heavy blanket that’s half smothering devolving into a heavy dose of cymbal crashes overpowered by this wall of distortion. Erick hits on this odd vocal timing that dives the opposite way into the lower reaches of his delivery. The devil tombs are all visible in a walk down the city street, it’s just the way they look at things with graveyard tinted glasses.
"Scorched Earth Policy" pulls outs a heavy foundation of thundery crunch for this final track. Almost in Jello Biafra style he’s describing what the institutions have done to this town. You can hear the contempt and disgust diving into the even darker stuff. Burn the churches, torch all the fields kill all the horses. As catchy as it is, it’s intended to make the lyric that much weirder and terrible. Like some kind of Brothers Grimm fairy tale, when you actually get into the meat of their argument it's a terrible, weird world and you’re going to die - chances are in a horrific way.
Pick this up from Drawing Room Records.