Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Body - "No One Deserves Happiness" (Album Review)

By: Richard Jaspering

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/03/ 2016
Label: Thrill Jockey


Horns swell as dim, low riffs wash over your mind, drums vacillate between cold sweetness and strong blows and the stage of chaos is set by the high screaming voice of unreason, formless yet voluminous and constant. Static whispers through grating frequencies and primal percussion, augmented by surprising claps and snaps, urges the dance of a readied, warring people.  The Body’s latest is an opus to ecstatic agony redolent of SWANS and Neurosis’ output. If no one deserves happiness, I suggest here that it is earned.


“No One Deserves Happiness” CD//DD//LP track Listing

1) Wanderings
2) Shelter Is Illusory
3) For You
4) Hallow/Hollow
5) Two Snakes
6) Adamah
7) Starving Deserter
8) The Fall And The Guilt
9) Prescience
10) The Myth Arc

The Review:

With The Body’s fifth full-length, on Thrill Jockey, one is presented an image of a negative plain where a person learns their contentment, a grace through isolation and self-injurious means. Lee Buford and Chip King display their pedigree in disharmony through measured, musical violence and guest Maralie Armstrong (Humanbeast) lends splendid vocal harmonies to this grim fray of a release.

Our introduction to“No One Deserves Happiness” is slow, sterile and beatific with the repeated sung admonition by Armstrong to “go wait alone.” Horns swell as dim, low riffs wash over your mind, drums vacillate between cold sweetness and strong blows and the stage of chaos is set by the high screaming voice of unreason, formless yet voluminous and constant. Static whispers through grating frequencies and primal percussion, augmented by surprising claps and snaps, urges the dance of a readied, warring people. We see, by the title “Shelter Is Illusory,” that we’re at last, at least secure in the idea that no plan is safe and that what is seen as asylum is only perceived, ephemeral.

Through the duration of the songs to follow, a framework for hate’s sake is built on a foundation of arrogance and contempt, based in vanity and pulchritude. From “For You,” a succinct offering of searing pitches and erratic, stunning crashes of drums bleed into the next, “Hallow/Hollow,” a mire of the spirit that ensnares unwary musical travelers where the siren’s song is for neither light nor dawn. Next, in “Two Snakes,” sub-bass and concussive blasts of programmed snares assail in tandem in short form, whipping and pulling into another place of contemplation of punishment labeled “Adamah.” These two tracks comprise eight minutes of hate but, when weighed against the other sonic themes established throughout the record, provide respite for the listener by affording them a chance to dance for all they’re worth to the weird electronic rhythms before plunging them into another sub-level of discordant, dragging metal where horns begin to sound again through the obscuring fog of a track, dedicated to a coward’s fate.

In “Prescience,” the connection in one between a mother’s love of literature and a father’s penchant for violence is explored, first through a short, spoken-word word piece that clearly, blessedly delineates the order of a life’s work in pain-causing and absorption of the same and again through the music, which cleverly establishes the themes in a sound schematic for sadomasochism.

Finally, the arcs of the myths of existence are smashed in the concluding track, a churning lull with choral arrangements and lingering riffs that caps the work brilliantly, leaving one to regain their senses and return to paralyzing normal life. The Body’s latest is an opus to ecstatic agony redolent of SWANS and Neurosis’ output. If no one deserves happiness, I suggest here that it is earned.

“No One Deserves Happiness” is available here


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