Council Records (label)
11 March 2020 (released)
11 March 2020
Bodega spin-off group, The Wants (Madison Velding-VanDam and Heather Elle) augmented by Jason Gates have created a masterful, menacing album that entrances, romances, bounces and pronounces.
The song titles are (un)knowing nods to the late 1970s-early 1980s post-punk concerns in a crumbling post-industrial world: ‘Fear my society’, ‘Nuclear Party’, ‘Clearly a crisis’. For ‘post-industrial’ we now have post-everything: a collapsed, flattened, crushed cultural and political horizon where the bland lead the blind, the sleek control the weak, the elite seek to delete. Serf’s Up, a ‘blind class aristocracy’ continues to prevail.
Andy ‘Gang of Four’ Gill’s lacerating, slinky and splintered guitar work informs ‘Ramp’ and ‘Clearly a crisis’. The former is a funkatronic scene-setter that sets its stall out, paving the way forward to the latter is a crash-end-o-ing schizoid-collapse of self-doubt and retreating within. The lyrics ‘I have no intimacy … I hide in myself’ are a commentary of technology’s dehumanising effects on tactility. Aren't they?
Hyper-charged adrenaline and pulse-racing palpitations course through ‘The Motor’, an encounter to get the arteries pumping. Why, I aorta …
Standout is ‘The Container’, a club-terrain-ean dancefloor anthem in the making. Velding-VanDam’s sardonic, laconic, atonic delivery blithely muttered, his (dis)passionate articulations at odds with the cavernous and cacophonous sounds behind him. These cryptic, apoco-ellipsis musings underplay the stark brush-off ‘no one wants to be your friend … after 7.30’.
The consumer capitalist critique of ‘Fear my Society’ sonically evokes AWOL Cali-doomers She Wants Revenge and Tears for Fears’s primal scream-dream (de)constructions, pristine pop-nous applied to millennial malcontent. Taking grimspiration from Detroit, Michigan’s decayed dreams, the feeling is one of atomised existences. The managed decline of the once thriving ‘Motor City’ a warning to all. The factory lines now dominated by ‘intelligent’ machines, the ‘unintelligent’ workers surplus to requirements. It could be YOU.
‘Machine Room’, ‘Waiting Room’, ‘Voltage’ and ‘Aluminium’ are all incidental noisescapes and ambient atmospherica, Throbbing Gristle-ish psychoacoustic jolts to the system. They bring to mind J.G. Ballard’s nightmarish dissections of shopping malls latent with simmering tensions and barely checked violence where ‘consumerism slides into fascism when politics simply gives the punters what they want, becoming a matter of consumer-style choices’. The soundtrack to slavish subservience.
Interpretation is everything.