Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Dead C - "Trapdoor Fucking Exit' (Siltbreeze)

When Michael Morley groans 'Hell has come, hell has come' in 'Power' (which appears on this disc twice, in original and extra-crispy form) he makes a convincing argument. Trapdoor Fucking Exit actually begins with 'Heaven', then leads (descends?) into 'Hell is Now Love', a slightly more spacious, nervous version of 'Love'. This is a odds-and-sods semi-album built around the 'Helen Said This' 12", which we already addressed in the Underbite blog. But that's a hell of a centrepiece, even if it's split up and fragmented with weird sexual stompers like 'Bone' and and the non-Latin version of 'Bury' wrapped around them. The whole disc clocks in at 69 minutes, and maybe this is the best introduction to the Dead C, though far from their "best" album. There's some true classics here, such as the aforementioned 'Power', another take on 'Sky', and the "acoustico" triptych at the end of  'Power', 'Bone' and 'Mighty', where the Dead C show off how beautiful their banshee squeals can sound in an acoustic setting. (Though these acoustic guitars sound like they are coursing with electricity, and the absence of Robbie Yeats is really felt.) It's a trick they only employ this one time and it's great they don't overuse it (the acoustic-y stuff on the DR503 era not counting). 'Bury (Refutatio Omnium Haeresium)' remains as epic as the first time we listened to it, particularly when it ascends to a beauteous plateau at the end. There's a lot of details here across the length of this disc. 'Mighty' ends with a playful call and response guitar jam, with guest/4th member Chris Heazlewood (who plays on about half of these tracks). 'Helen' retains it's grandeur even in the coarse, digital form of the compact disc; the crawling ebb and flow at the end, arpeggiated and shimmery, remains one of the Dead C's finest moments. This sense of horizontal motion, also present in 'Krossed' (though under duress there) is something I love about open-form music. The ambience that the band has at this point, which stays uniform throughout this whole disc even though the sessions were recorded at different times in 1989/1990. Which I guess means that this should have come before Harsh 70s Reality, though I'm pretty sure it was released after. Maybe this is an error in my chronology, in which case, whoops, sorry.

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