Pin-Up Went Down – 342 – 4.5/5
For anyone who missed the last time I professed my love for the most schizophrenic ADHD-laden piece of musical theatre to ever grace my ears, you'll have missed my cautionary warning that such genre skipping would not be to everyone's tastes, and in fact may well serve as a decent test of just how musically open-minded you can be. If I had one expectation going into this release it would be that they wouldn't settle unless they'd succeeded in more than matching their previous effort, and as my brain balances on the edge of falling out of my open mind I dare say they succeeded. With the new addition of a keyboardist bringing their member count to three, this goes beyond a simplistic merger of unusual musical styles and instead feels like they've strived to pack every genre in existence into this 42 minute album, and even scarier than this notion is that they've come damn close to doing just that.
I won't even bother to list all the different styles I've observed as the whole thing would become an exercise in futility, but suffice to say that it wouldn't be possible if not for every member present bringing their own mindset to the table. With the lead vocalist's acrobatic display of J-pop cutesiness, soprano roaring, gothic wailing and beyond, she feels as much a vocalist as an impressionist, successfully mimicking the tones of Bjork, Alanis Morisette, Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) and various children; her versatility then combines with the backing deathly growls and even Andy Schmidt (Disillusion) joins in to roar a bit as a guest on one track, resulting in a variety that would make Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) proud. Except even he wouldn't dare try to do them all in under an hour whilst remaining coherent.
Whilst overshadowed by the vocal work, the instrumentation is critical in maintaining the tone of the piece and it isn't so much the versatility of how each instrument is performed as much as the way they work together, no instrument forgotten for long. The tempo and aggression in the drums is constantly changing with the piece, the bass guitar shifting back and forth to add a bass presence to the more metallic portions and providing much of the funkier tones, psychedelic guitar work combine with synths, classical piano passages and subtle atmospheric keys (amongst the less subtle) in a masterful demonstration of what tones and atmospheres can be produced by combining the various instruments in certain ways.
With such mind-bending variety, the drawback is the fluidity of the composition, which certainly isn't to say its bad or even any worse than before. Everything has simply been kicked up a notch, the transitions coming thicker and faster than ever before and as a result things can initially feel jarring until you come to learn the track and expect that J-pop intro to morph into a funky death metal piece; the gothic church organs to turn into – actually i'm not sure how to describe this section – only to sound like “Stolen Babies” brand of circus of hell, often all occurring before a minute has passed. Whether you love it or hate it, the one thing I can guarantee is that you'll have a very tough time finding another artist this diabolically insane.
Highlights: Khabod of My Aba, Vaginaal Nathrakh, Murphy in the Sky With Daemons
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Monday, 12 July 2010