Review Summary: A carefully constructed coldwave affair with a bright opening and suitably messy finale
I’m quite fond of a defunct webcomic called A Softer World which was three panel catnip for any teenager who considered themselves an intellectual brooder. It trafficked in both sentiment and shock; when going for the former its third panel was often treacly and painfully sincere but when aiming for the latter it was a punch aimed at deflating the pretensions of both the writer and the reader. Correction’s Projection is an exercise in the latter mode.
The first half of the album is a carefully structured affair that builds a sense of rising tension. Tempos and pitches slowly build; starting from the menacing, white noise backed synths of O.H.P. continuing through the caustic stomp of R4TS and on to the reflective bounce of Man in the Moonlight before the upward trajectory is interrupted by the falling action of Pleasure Principle. It’s a clever anachronism; speaking to a time when artists had to think about crafting A sides and B sides and somewhat at odds with the fact that most people will hear Projection through streaming platforms where the cheapskates amongst us will suffer the interruption of ads and individual tracks are ripe to be ripped to playlists. (Hell, even Bandcamp will cheerfully murder Projection’s sequencing by kicking things off with a featured track if you click in the wrong place.)
Projection’s second half is considerably harder to get to grips with; it’s the deflating punch of the third panel. Not There to be Around briefly flirts with being a brooding twin to O.H.P. before its riff kicks in. Its timbre is bright – it’s played with a cheery touch – but it’s fashioned out of unsettling intervals that give the track an anxious feeling simpatico with its uncertain lyrics. The mood continues through its coda in which an interview with a redemptive narrative is muddied by deliberately discombobulating backing. Phew, I hope you made a cup of tea after the A side.
It might be a relief when the straightforward dance beat of the ironically named Theme for Great Parties kicks in under distorted guitars but we’re on the B side now so even that hiccups and curdles into Dark of the Pillow a kind of extended coda which retains the beat but muddies everything else. Sweet Lust and Anna in Season function similarly – a bright up tempo track whose bitter chaser sticks in the throat. These pairs function as a synecdoche for the album as a whole; a bright, straight forward opening turned productively messy and painful.