Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Crazy Spirit


Coming from some of the same bunch of nutbars that destroyed with Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, another nasty New York release from Toxic State, just as uncomfortable, but odder, spookier. Gribbly ghoul vocals and a remorseless gallop driven by the snappy drums, all groaning like bridge-support echoes of The Screamer's 122 Hours of Fear. Opening with a gloomy wrongspeed rendition of Here We Go Looby Loo amidst record-crackle which sets the tone for the rest of the record, silly but unsettling, weird and infectious. The songs itch with discomfort and spite. Space drops out all vocals but a mangled garble, as though someone was gagged or drowning and trying to spit through the hardcore grime. Bricks is run through with the disconcerting chatter of children's voices. The whole album sounds corrupted and nasty but whereas Hank Wood the threat seems to just be the crushing force of modern isolation, with Crazy Spirit things seem more ominous, hinting at a deeper malevolence, the Lovecraftian clamor of an encounter with a darkness-unnamed narrated from a dead man's diary. In this album the cityscape's baleful glower is drawn not from the collective anguish of its inhabitants, but from sepulchral missteps and forgotten bloodstains shaking with occult vendetta power. The splatterpunk glamour of serial killers, the twitching of insomnia, the lure of the train tracks, the drugsflesh and the skinbricks, all drawn from this pervasive animal malignance that you can't escape, not in the whoops of You, not in the clackety western susurrus of What Have I Become?, not in the sarcastic ugly mutant hatecroon of I Become a Man, all underpinned by the scratchy guitars and their scrape and surf-needle, the relentless roll of the snare and vocals that sound like Joey Vindictive halfway through a lycanthropic transformation.


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