Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bodychoke - Cold River Songs

Purity, 1998/ Relapse 2009

So far in my experience, when guys from decent power electronics acts turn rock, they rock OUT, i.e. Skullflower, Ramleh, Dominick Fernow's umpteen projects. Bodychoke, the 90s side project of Kevin Tomkins (Sutcliffe Jügend, ex-Whitehouse) is no exception. Hidden away for some reason, I unfortunately participated in its underrating, as I have often put Sutcliffe Jügend on the side and focused more on Whitehouse as the purveyor of high-quality vileness, a status SJ does not deserve as I am finding I like quite a bit of Tomkins' material more for sheer atmosphere and pro viciousness. Bodychoke was his rock fugue and continued his integrity; what you've got here is noise rock heaviness that's somewhere between old school Skullflower tactics (or moreso rock-era Ramleh), with an almost Swans-level sophistication (the celloist is amazing), lyrics schizophrenically going between Michael Gira and Oxbow drugged-up suicide crooning, and when it gets romantic (this usually means there's a knife in somebody's head) it even sounds kind of like a psychopathic Fields Of The Nephilim. The atmosphere is as thick as his main solo project, the themes as twisted, but a little more introspective (i.e. no "I never met a woman who didn't deserve to die"). Absolutely magnificent stuff, this is their magnum opus but the other two albums, Mindshaft and Five Prostitutes are not to be missed.


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