When it comes to listening to the Dead C you are faced with two options. The first way is total and complete submission. In this method you dim the lights, pop a few Benadryl or what ever your cold medicine of choices is, lay back and let the squeals of feedback and snail-paced percussion take you over until you fall asleep or achieve a state of total oneness with the universe.
Listening this way is quite relaxing and therapeutic. Despite the atonal quality of the music, if one commits to listening to an entire album in one sitting, one becomes taken over with a state of inner peace.
The second way, and the more productive way of listening to the Dead C, is to use it as sonic tapestry while one engages in boring or tedious work. Vacuuming blends well with the hums, squeals and thuds of the music. Doing one’s dishes is an excellent idea. The thuds and crashes in the sink are just as random as some of Robbie’s drumming seems.
The Dead C have now entered their twentieth year of existence. Over that time they have produced a body of work that is most challenging, yet very engaging. While you have to be in the right mood or state of mind, having taken the cold medicine of your choice (see liner notes for vain, erudite and stupid) it can be an amazing experience.
The first song on the disc “AMM of Punk Rock,” at thirteen minutes and twenty three seconds, is leaning more towards the AMM side of the fence. If you do not know who AMM is I am not going to tell you. The track itself sounds like huge lumbering power generators heard through post-apocalyptic bomb shelter walls. Yeats’ drumming is so sparse on the track it is almost nonexistent. Morley and Russell provide howling guitars and electronics that seem to be in their violent death throes. The sound is so stripped down it is almost skeletal. Instead of the gurgling bleats of electronics being used as random elements, they seemed to be tightly controlled and precisely deployed. Like almost all great “Harsh” sounding bands, all the chaos is used to obscure the stunning core that is the heart of the music.
The Magicians is the only “song” on the disc. I love abstract atonal noise as much as the next dude (and I really do), but can one imagine how fucking cool a disc full of the Dead C’s very special brand of pop would be?
The song “Eternity” is not a tribute to the Calvin Klein scent, I don’t think. While the song is long, it does not last an eternity -- more like 2 minutes longer than a quarter hour. The jam is a slow burn, but a burn well worth hearing until the end when all the carbon bonds are broken and there is nothing left but a pile of ash.
While the record is challenging (well duh, it is a Dead C record) with repeated listens one notices subtle and complex variations and patterns. The Dead C is like an old sweater one might find in a Dunedin thrift shop. It might have holes, if you pull on the wrong thread it might unravel, and it might look ghastly to others, but it keeps one warm and oh so happy. (BaDaBing) (Dan Cohoon)