Review Summary: Yon murky punks!
We all live our lives having to deal with the good
always reaching from somewhat acceptable to heavenly blissful, and the bad
jumping from a mild nuisance to a gut-punch of absolute hellfire. Everything is bad and everything is good and it is necessary to find even as much as a grain of good in the utterly horrid ***ery of awfulness, and vice versa. The inability to do that showcases, if nothing else, a certain level of immaturity. When one is so blinded by a surface level unpleasantness and is then unable to comprehend the goodness underneath, it ruins one’s perception of the thing in question.
An album like Music To Make War To
, although admittedly barely on any high level of difficulty, tests this ability to move past the decadence on the surface. It is indeed an extraordinarily dour album, but there is an undeniable presence of peace and acceptance underneath. The nonchalance with which TJ Cowgill – generally on most of his albums, really – conveys this gloominess and despondency feels almost used to from his perspective. As though the melancholy of solitude, isolation, suffering and personal inner demons just became an unquestionable regularity to him.
“If you don’t love me, just go and say it, it isn’t wrong.”
Every song is presented in as hauntingly dim a way as possible, but each also enters with a sense of hope. Perhaps the often melodically deep and chilling tunes, perhaps the aforementioned nonchalance and acceptance of the dimness, but it is as if the album tried to prompt you to prepare you for the worldly darkness and disappointment, saying “It’s gonna be awful out there, you can only try to understand that it is here to stay and make the best of it.”
A word on the musical arrangement: the dirty, sweaty environment of both cataclysmic punk and outcast country in fusion creates a singular atmosphere of near-pathological pessimism. Also the work with the background and countless noises, instrumental moments and subdued sounds that all appear behind the main musical arrangement contribute a great deal to the already fairly pertinent chaos of the record. Not to mention, the occasionally exceptionally tangling guitar-work, sudden brass holler or a pleasant addition of quiet vulnerable female vocals every now and then only add to the idea of the album actually trying to urge you to look at the positive.
It might not be easy to view this album as having any semblance of lightness within, especially given the fact that King Dude is revelling in the genre so ominously named noir-folk and borrows heavily from the gloom-masters such as Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan and Johnny Cash. But everything is bad and everything is good and it is necessary to find even as much as a grain of good in the utterly horrid f***ery of awfulness, and vice versa.