Let’s be honest here, there are sometimes when you’re standing in a small room (because that’s the sort of room that bands that I like play), beer in hand, watching someone playing in front of you and thinking ‘oh please just finish already’. I’ve seen some blinding support acts in my time, bands who I perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have found which, but sometimes things just don’t click. If you then go to gigs regularly in one town you then get to know some of the regular support acts, who fill the bill regularly because the promoter knows that they are reliable and will bring a certain number of followers with them. I’ve lost could of the number of gigs I’ve been to where the support has had a bigger crowd than the headliner… go figure.
So where am I going with this. Well if you frequent ‘psych’ gigs in Manchester the chances are that you will have seen Rhys Bloodjoy on a number of occasions (he’s been performing since 2014). This is most definitely a good thing. Usually performing in his trademark black hoodie, looking every bit a ‘psych Mr Robot’ delivering fucked up disruptive sounds that deserve a wider audience, he did his first headliner at the end of 2016. This is why I was pleased to see that the ever reliable Eggs in Aspic label have picked him up for their latest release.
I’ll admit that this is the first time I’ve heard Rhys outside of a live setting. This gives me much more of a chance to listen closely to what he is doing with his music, something you don’t get much time to do when seeing someone as a support act. What immediately struck me with ‘Love Is A Fucked Up Goddess’ is that this is something different. There is no sense of bandwagon jumping here, no sense of being so influenced by this or that band or genre. This is something that feels fresh, if music as dirty, fuzzy and downright intense as this can be described as fresh.
What you get here is four tracks of heavy psych sounds. Four tracks that are in no way beholden to each other in that they each follow their own way. ‘Reflections of a Girl’ with its weird mix of jangly guitar and pounding rhythm all competing for attention with a high background fuzz that threatens to drown the track, but just about keeps it afloat. A track that gives to a sense of almost going under, yet somehow just surviving.
‘Temptress Signals and Sirenesque Frequencies’ is just that, a short burst of sounds that de-tune the brain and provide a freaky disorientation before ‘Aphrodite’s Mirror’ kicks in. With its tribal beat, solid guitar loops and deep vocal this track reminds me of The Janitors, which is a very positive thing in my book. There are times in this track when you see glimpses of beauty amidst all the darkness. Moments of joy amid the pain, and the more you look the more you find them. This can be as uplifting as anything when the underlying mood is so oppressive (and I like oppressive), moments of clarity amidst a profusion of bleak and uncompromising sonics.
Last up, and taking up the entire b-side, is ‘The Day Venus Trashed Heaven’. Probably the most experimental track of the album this is initially reminiscent of early Cult of Dom Keller before opening out into something less intense, although these things are relative. The tribal drums are once again pounding as loop after loop fades in building up the wall of noise up to a final…silence.
At around twenty minutes ‘Love Is A Fucked Up Goddess’ is slightly shorter than the average support set. I would argue that these tracks suggest that Bloodjoy is worthy of more than that and I look forward to seeing him up the bill, and hopefully bringing out a full-length album as some point too. For now this cassette release provides a perfect introduction to his music for those who have not been lucky enough to see him perform live.
Strictly limited to 50 copies on jade green C20 cassettes inc. exclusive double-sided artwork by Rogue Bear, digital download card + free sour cherry & apple candy from Eggs in Aspic.
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