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Friday, 18 September 2009

Bark Psychosis - 'Game Over' (3rd Stone)

The dance music rumblings I expressed uneasyness with when they were hinted at on Hex are much more full-on here, but Game Over is the Pisces Iscariot/Incesticide of Bark Psychosis so it's easy to forgive the odd excursion into producing a club hit. It's most glaring on the opening track, 'Blue', and 1992's 'Manman', and while I like a good dance now and then, the beats and rhythms aren't particularly invigorating. 'Manman' has some great screaming guitar ambience which recalls A.R. Kane's best experiments but the drum programming is a bit, eh, weak. But consistency is impossible on a collection like this, so with that criterion tossed aside, Game Over can reveal some moments of true beauty. I think I like the longer tracks -- 'All Different Things' is 8 minutes of mid-90's ambient pop infused with a slow, elegiac drama that never gets to where it's going (a good thing!) and the 21-minute 'Scum' is a masterpiece that feels slighted by it's placement on this disc. 'Murder City' I find a bit less endearing - is this BP's 'Moby Dick'? (as in the Led Zep staple, yeah). As good as BP were, they really used the album form to stretch out so compromise is inevitable here. The palette is most inviting when the tempo slows. 'Bloodrush' opens with digital-delay jangle, and BP feels more "post-shoegaze" to me because every one of these notes is important. The Wire cover, 'Three Girl Rhumba', is a tossed-off gag that probably wasn't worth paying the publishing royalties for but I'm glad it's here for the potential of future mixtapes (or playlists or whatever people do now). There's some overlap with Hex ('A Street Scene' is exactly the same as the album version, I think) and no attempt at this being consistent, so its best to just revel in the highs. 'Scum' as I said above is the masterpiece, probably of Bark Psychosis's whole career, capturing a perfect moment of emotional psychedelia through an early 90s English gaze. (I mean, grunge was big in 1992 when 'Scum' was is a weird thing to think about, though I can't articulate why). There's a live version of 'Pendulum Man' to close this out, which is recorded well enough, but I'm left feeling like something is missing. And a nagging sense that I should dig out the ///Codename:Dustsucker mp3s and get to know that record better.

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