Lafcadio — Sham Duvet
(Joyful Noise JNR-10, 2006, CD)
Gogglesphere — Babies in Hell: A Depiction of Deranged Youth
(Joyful Noise JNR-4, 2004, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2006-05-01
One might ask why these two discs are being addressed in the same review; it’s because both Gogglesphere and Lafcadio are essentially the same band – or that is to say they have the same five members. Babies in Hell is subtitled A Depiction of Deranged Youth, a concept album of extremely twisted and grotesque imagery and a musical style to match: abrasive and extreme technical thrash-metal full of distortion at every level, with that singer who at one moment sounds like somebody’s trying to strangle him, and the next minute sounds like he’s screaming in pain with a bottle cap stuck up his ass sideways. Not an easy listen, any way you shred it. Fortunately a couple songs turn down the distortion some, slow down the pace, and stop screaming so the lyrics are somewhat understandable. But it’s not long until it slides right back into concussion-driven suicidal mania at the threshold of pain and beyond. Ahem. Some will really dig this, I’m sure.
Regrouped as Lafcadio, some elements of the old sound are still present here, but it does seem like a fresh start with a concerted effort to make a more meaningful and interesting musical statement within the boundaries of extreme technical metal. Some screaming, to be sure, but plenty of decent harmonies too, and more importantly one can actually hear what’s being played and sung without the ever-present cloud of distortion engulfing everything. Each piece is distinctly different in some way from all others, and the overall approach is a sort-of punk take on the more brutal elements of contemporary King Crimson mixed with a more adventurous variation of the math rock sound. Sham Duvet is the messianic lead figure in a concept exploring the contradictions and similarities between religious epiphany and schizophrenic hallucination; and this time the lyrics are understandable – but just in case they are all printed in the booklet. In all, this is a far more satisfying disc; here’s to the new start.
Related artist(s): Lafcadio / Gogglesphere
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more