Bodychoke "Cold River Songs" CDPosted on Monday, March 16th, 2009 @ 6:44am » permalink
Sadly I had never even heard of Bodychoke prior to reading about this recent reissue on Relapse Records a few weeks ago, which proves how very correct the label is in referring to the band as "criminally underrated and underexposed". Formed in the early 90's by members of power electronics legends Sutcliffe Jügend and Whitehouse, "Cold River Songs" was the band's third and final album, originally released in 1998. Admittedly I've never been an enormous fan of Sutcliffe Jügend or Whitehouse, but the concept of a "true" band utilizing traditional instrumentation to craft "real" songs formed from the base of those two units is incredibly intriguing to me, and sure enough these sinister, spacious efforts create the perfect union between gothic atmospheres and tastefully grating, pulsing noise rock. The bulk of the compositions center around throbbing basslines and crisp drumming alongside short, simple vocal lines that are delivered through everything from hushed whispers to intense shouts/shrieks – accented by surprisingly frequent (and efficient) appearances of cello, while the guitars tend much more towards noisy textures and waves as opposed to tangible riffs. This reissue also includes three outstanding bonus tracks taken from the odds and ends collection CD-R "Completion" that the band released posthumously, which I believe were recorded around the same time as the sessions for the album, thus making for about an hour's worth of music across nine songs total. Apparently there's also an entirely new layout that includes (potentially "controversial") lyrics for the first time in the band's history, but I can't really speak to that since I bought the mp3's off Amazon.com. Contrary to what some have stated I think the new cover art kicks ass, though, and from what I can make out of the lyrical content things are a bit more tactful and appropriate for the general tone of Bodychoke's presentation, as opposed to an over the top power electronics type of attack. What more can I say? Very interesting, indeed… and I quite hope I can track down the rest of Bodychoke's output!
If that's not enough to convince you, stream the whole thing at Last.fm. This is an excellent album and truly was a perfect candidate for such a reissue. I can only hope that Relapse will eventually do the same for the band's first two efforts, "Mindshaft" and "Five Prostitutes" (the latter of which was recorded by Steve Albini, which is exceptionally curious), as they're painfully hard to find by any means, and when you do track down a CD copy the prices are generally absurd. If anyone out there happens to have copies of those discs that you'd for some reason be willing to part with, please do let me know!