For the first time, I can call something Kafka-esque
without sounding pretentious. And while we’re at it, it’s
Bohemian to boot. Sam Rosenthal has woven much of this
work with Kafka’s dark ironies. Even so far as to adapt the
bounced Czech’s words into the lyrics. Don’t go running off
for the simpler taste of the Cro-Mags just yet. The
Scavenger Bride doesn’t require a degree in letters, or
any understanding of existentialism to appreciate. The rich
orchestration tracks an inspiring theme as ambitious as Crime
& The City Solution. Pursue it as deeply as you care
to, even if just for some good sleepytime tuneage. The same
goes for your sonic commitment. Use as background while drinking
international coffee with your bridge club. Or crank it during
that luxurious bubble bath and let it encompass every part
of your essence as the wine spills from your wrist-mouths.
The minimalist title track consists of little more than distant
chords stretched to quarter-mile notes layer upon layer. Something
of an opening credit sedative from the turtle monks of the
Dark Crystal. In "Kinski," chanteuse Elysabeth
Grant professes her devotion Klaus poetically, You
who are perfection made flesh, your light is so intense, so
bright. It does not blind me, but rather bathes me in a sensual
warmth. That's quite a dreamy tribute to the Polish equivalent
of Rutger Hauer. Lofty flute overseers the tickled
dulcimer as the run-on sentences pile on flattery. The first
sign of percussion comes in "All My Loves." Light
bongos and shakers pepper the renaissance campfire of a tune.
Sing-song vocals add to the hypnotic mandolin and rubbery
bass. The whispered confession of Sonic Youth’s "Shadow
Of A Doubt" spills into a pleading nightmare. Piano clanks
through the fray, which sounds a bit like Swing Out Sister.
The simple keyboard on "The Doorkeeper" is
so familiar and welcome, that it’s almost a shame when the
cello steps out. The matronly vocals bring the angelic to
earth. Songs like this and "Floats In Updrafts"
end far too soon, giving just a glimpse before disappearing.
"A Livery Of Bachelors" has a more present beat,
with tinkling sparkles floating above. Spahn Ranch’s Athan
Maroulis delivers the melodrama on this one like a sadder,
more serious Marc Almond. The Gelfling cello reappears
for, "Das Lislottenbett." The gorgeous, swelling
fluted instrumental virtually begs for a soundtrack deal.
Where's Wim Wenders when you need him?
Hearing Brett Helm croak out the Murphy-esque "The
Lie Which Refuses To Die" has me scrambling to find work
by his band Aura. Not only is the voice beautifully
gravelly, the lyrics are amusingly pedestrian: I’m the
stain that won’t come out, the toilet backed up, the ticket
on their car, the overdue bills. This sort of underplayed
demon is very refreshing. Attrition’s Martin Bowe
narrates "The Scavenger’s Daughter." The graphic
description of a torture device is then granted release in
Grant’s sweet lilt. Plaintive strings allow distance from
the horror and don’t look back until escape is certain. With
its eastern feel and near didgeridoo waves, "Like A Dog"
flows into "Letters To Brod." Helm delivers a pipe-stretching
message to the friend who betrayed Franz’ wishes by publishing
his work. The lush Pink Dots package is a genital rumbling,
sinister one. The lingering echoed keyboards give you plenty
of time to think about it, where you’re going. "The Whipper"
offers attractively disturbing images in the pristine confusion.
As well as confirming that chicks dig the bad boys. The
whipper was proud and stood over two men I once loved. Takemetakeme…
Grant presents all the Jarboe theatrics without the
turning into Satan bit. Her duet with the piano on "Bastille
Day" ends out like b-side Felt. (The good side.)
The sort of song you never hear the end of because you’ve
been in after-sex R.E.M. for 20 minutes.
On a scale of compatible bands inserted into movies: one
being This Mortal Kombat, and ten being Sex In The
City Solution, The Scavenger Bride comes in at
nine – Dead Can Wear Plaid.
— Ewan Wadharmi
- The Scavenger Bride
- All My Lovers
- Shadow Of A Doubt
- The Doorkeeper
- Floats In The Updrafts
- A Livery Of Bachelors
- Das Liselottenbett
- The Lie Which Refuses To Die
- The Scavenger's Daughter
- Like A Dog/Letter To Brod
- The Whipper
- Bastille Day, 1961
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