Rowland S. Howard
Pop Crimes


4.5
superb

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (115 Reviews)
March 30th, 2018 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't want nothin', can't use nothin'

From the first chorus of his opener "(I Know) A Girl Called Johnny," Rowland S. Howard's mission of erotic addiction is made clear. 'She's my narcotic lollipop,' he mutters tiredly, while Jonnine Standish croons about putting her fingers in Johnny's mouth. So it goes for Pop Crimes, a terse collection of moody post-punk murder ballads, Howard's last before an untimely death.

Pop Crimes is a slow seethe of quiescent sleaze, the sort of twilight melancholy that arrives after a youth well-wasted and a middle age spent half in remission and half in the bag. The murky gloom that sips through these songs is only apt since Howard died of liver cancer just a few months after the record's release, waiting on a transplant. That feeling of having one foot slung over the edge is all over Pop Crimes, and there's a macabre delectability in the way Howard intones on the Talk Talk cover:

Life's what you make it. Don't you hate it.

He's been no stranger to artful ghoulishnes of course, and most every project he's ever taken part in, starting with The Birthday Party and through countless collaborations (Crime and the City Solution, Lydia Lunch etc.), has been marked by the same ghastly pathology. Sinister, wary, and lovingly tacky; cuts like "The Golden Age of Bloodshed," "Wayward Man" and the title track play out like strutting music for Woland from Master and Margarita, a soundscape for mischief in a tweed coat.

Though it sports its share of dissonance and underhand rawcus, the LP feels more a hangover after a long, gin-soaked lifetime, and like any great weathered cinematic villain in repose, Pop Crimes' softer aspects like "Ave' Maria" or the cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Nothin'" become moments of tremendously understated beauty.

Despite the fact that Pop Crimes was only Howard's second solo outing (1999's gorgeous Teenage Snuff Film is never to be missed), his life-work runs deep and wide. Through tireless partnerings, he's left an indelible imprint on the scene. Still, given how much malignant grace he was able to muster so close to the end, one can only wonder just how much will be left unsung.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Papa Universe
March 30th 2018


16006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

figured your dig would eventually turn into a review

Digging: Petrojvic Blasting Company - Over the Garden Wall

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

only a matter of time..

bgillesp
March 30th 2018


5128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretend POS. Golden Age of Bloodshed is an amazing track, rest of it is great too

zakalwe
March 30th 2018


25383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice one pat.



All you fannies save yourselves and listen to The Golden Age of Bloodshed.

SandwichBubble
March 30th 2018


6895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bangin

Digging: Poison Girls - Hex

zakalwe
March 30th 2018


25383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Garfield off his bollocks.

Cool!

SandwichBubble
March 30th 2018


6895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I try my darnedest



but this having a review is cool as ice

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that's why yours truly is here..

Papa Universe
March 30th 2018


16006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rating in

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

been a while since an album I wrote up had so many (good) ratings in the comments.. feels good..

Papa Universe
March 30th 2018


16006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you bring light to people

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_9cb37090A

Papa Universe
March 30th 2018


16006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that's an accurate representation of what you probably look like, except you don't glow green, you glow grey from all the cig stench formed around you

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I cut back slightly.. dating my first non-smoker in years..

Papa Universe
March 30th 2018


16006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

uh-oh

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

don't worry.. the cigarettes always outlive the girl.. they're quieter company..

Divaman
March 30th 2018


2463 Comments


And less deadly?

"Post-punk murder ballads". I love it!

Digging: CHVRCHES - Love Is Dead

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haha, Diva, equally deadly, with different dividends..

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2018


2428 Comments


I appreciate so much that this review manages to be equally intriguing and to the point, impressive work butcher. Will be checking this.

Digging: McCafferty - Sum of All Fears

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2018


8206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers, Blush! hope you like it..



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