Graham Reid | | 1 min read
With the self-titled album by Ferocious last year – vocals/organ Bill Direen, drums Johannes Contag and guitar Mark Williams – Auckland's Rattle label pushed its already broad parameters into experimental poetry, alt.rock and beats.
Perhaps encouraged by the critical reception the album was given, Rattle now presents this equally challenging and different album by multi-instrumentalists Rob Sinclair (Schtung, Big Sideways, 3 Voices) and Bevan Revell (session work after returning from Europe).
With standard equipment – guitars, drums, piano – augmented in places by Indian shenai, bass clarinet, pot lids and handmade instruments, Pansousiance (a neologism meaning wide-ranging indifference?) slips between the cracks of gloomy poetry (In Dutch Quarter with its leper, pus, a High Priestess in an underground voodoo den), left-field folk (Dirty Rat Lodger) and shapeshifting instrumentals.
Covid is here on the slurry speak-sing From Whence She Came? (“Lax procedure in a P4 lab, Wuhan university”) and the slow and eerie Lockdown with multi-tracked vocals slightly out of synch (in the manner of Graeme Jefferies) with guest singer Louise McDonald: “I've seen the news but it ain't getting through, people dying lonely”.
Throughout there is a sense of dislocation and isolation evoked by the disorientating vocals, odd and changing time signatures and the instrumentation.
The subtitle of the album doesn't lie: “A selection of snapshots of a world askew”.
Perhaps start with the instrumentals (Selling Mustard Seed, They're Everywhere, Nagoyagogo, Washable Pok Dum Blean which is sometimes Waits-meets-gamelan) before undertaking Panspeciel Transmission (about scientists messing with DNA), Grandees Ball (decadence and the dead being transported across the Styx) or the most straight-ahead songs here (that being a relative comparison) Poison Pigeons and On the Shelf.
You can discover their version of Isa Lei for yourself.
Welcome to the difficult listening hour.
You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here.