By JENNIFER KELLY
Watery Love seethes with unease, its molten rages and anxieties bubbling up through a surface of roiling distortion. Guitar riffs decay into buzz and static as you listen to them. Block simple drum beats batter on, regardless, whack, whack, whack, whack on the fours, like the kit is being bludgeoned to death, rather than simply played. Two songs start with a dinner party and end in mayhem, the opener “Dose the Host,” shorting out in a demented rant about platters of skulls, missing eyes and “rabid lemurs,” the final song “Face the Door” rattling out of consciousness with a repeated cry of “Unlike you dickheads, I welcome death.” There’s a nightmare just under the surface of ordinary, irritating, daily life in Decorative Love, and when it’s not scaring the piss out of you, it’s darkly, desolately funny.
The band is an impromptu gathering of Philly-area garage noise talent. Richard Charles III (ex of Clockcleaner and the Ritchie of Ritchie Records) and Max Milgram play guitar. Daniel DiMaggio of Home Blitz plays bass and Meg Baird, yes, that Meg Baird, is bashing the crap out of an abbreviated drum kit, in a very un-Espers-y way. The four of them revel in rot and developmental stasis, turning 99%-er issuers – unpaid bills, stunted relationships, manual labor, uncleaned refrigerators – into a vibrating landscape of loathing and resentment. “Have you ever laid blacktop?” the singer murmurs in the dirge-heavy, dissonance blistered “Piece of Piss,” and then answers himself, “Of course not. You’re a lawyer.” You could cut plastic with the acid in that line. You could melt a hole in the floor and fall right through.
The whole record leads into “Face the Door,” an epic scramble of detuned guitars, a blinding migraine of miasmic sound that wraps, incongruously at first, around a familiar scenario: a bunch of friends meeting in a restaurant for dinner. (The first sign of trouble is that both males in the party want to face the door, so that they can look any potential killers in the eye.) The song has the strongest, most memorable guitar line, a revving engine-like riff that starts up and sputters, starts up and sputters, lurching from measure to measure like a belligerent drunk looking for a fight. And it has that line that makes ninja-ish sense of all the humiliations – the stacks of bills, the girls who like their dogs better, the smell of paint and exhaust and rotten eggs. “Unlike you dickheads, I welcome death” crests over a boiling mass of noise and carnage, maybe the only certain thing in a world of spinning rooms and seething walls. The world is full of small disappointments and giant rages that all have to be sucked up and put away if you want to get through the week. Watery Love takes them out and puts them on display, front and center, in one of this year’s most cathartic rock records.
DOWNLOAD: “Face the Door”