An open letter to hard rock drummers:
Ride cymbal is an instrument...NOT an instruction!
That being said, Relative Ash utilizes really complex
ever-changing rhythms without losing the listener. The ebb
and flow spins around and melds heavy dirges and waltzes
into massive fuzz freakouts. Sensible guitar lines tie the
differing segments together. Do not mourn the demise of the
guitar solo, my good people. Send it back into part of the
band where it belongs.
Marcus Harrington's unique style is irresistible. His
paranoid euro-80's sweetness shows a vulnerability that
makes him infinitely more dangerous than Casey Chaos
(Amen). After he has garnered your sympathy and your
shoulder, he spews uncontrollably into your ear. The
unexpected volume and voracity of his outbursts can best be
described as vomiting his lyrics. He falls back into
Corgan-like hiccups, and the dry heaves come back. The
content is as heavy as the sounds. Raw emotion and sexual
issues make up the full version of the bandísphilosophy.
"Pout" is the first of several stories dealing
with the unusual topic of conception. Much of the focus
seems to deal with the balance of guilt, pleasure, and
obligation. "Spitting out mind erection her womb grips
screaming birth I feel her digging me soft sucking out
wrong I'm bound for sound cool youíre a pops now."
Complex subject matter and yoda-like graphic lyrics add
validity to the difficult music. The thread flows in
"Sperm" compounded with self-abuse and
self hate. "My disease apologies I need more
than just drink some warm milk honey slit my wrists."
And again in "Breathe:" "Born vagina
smiles exhale pornography youíre clean now your veinsinhale."
An Eastern feel on "Flavor" prepares for more
personal observations, "have you ever witnessed full
blown romance and there ainít no question they held hands
like we did." The realities of HIV (the bandís main
ministry) are explored in "Hymen" from first-hand
experience. The depth of the lyrics really shows here.
Relative Ash seems to be about the experience of life from
birth to death. They deal with abandonment, despair, desire
and hope. "5:30" deals with an unfaithful father
and consequences from the previous track. "Iím doing
alright for being a bastard." Death grips again
in "Be Mighty." "I couldnít walk I couldnít
crawl I felt death before I talked." A somewhat softer
reflection in the grieving process.
Through the trauma the singer found an outlet in music,
described in "Bounce." "6 Miles To
Learn" is about disillusion with the church.
Fatherhood from the other side in "Good Form."
He also seems to address vasectomy and custody here,
"why don't you share our baby but it keeps me
warm." The cohesion comes in "Charmed,"
stealing lines and topics in an attempt to find collusion.
"Our Time" is an emotionally draining but very
rewarding experience. Very surprising for a major labelrelease.
- Breathe (Tiny Hands)
- Be Mighty (If He Falls Go Pick Him Up)
- 6 Miles To Learn
- Good Form