Black Pus - All My Relations
Enjoyably visceral solo project from Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale
(Thrill Jockey) A big chunk of the appeal of Rhode Island’s two-man wrecking crew Lightning Bolt lies in the grotesquely overdriven and pitched Hades-ward tone of bassist Brian Gibson. You’d be forgiven, then, for being concerned that the solo project of LB’s other Brian, drum-fiend Chippendale, may be a bit lacking in sub-woofer bait. But fear not, for Black Pus’s oscillator-driven low-end abuse is just as treacly and fetid as the name implies. And, of course, the other key component in the aforementioned duo, the anaerobically superhuman blunderbuss percussion, is here in frenzied abundance.
‘Marauder’ hurls hard bass plummet at junkyard clatter while Chippendale howls unintelligible nonsense through a semi-melted Bakelite telephone. Towards the end, his multi-tracked vocals stretch for angelic beauty, but manifest as an unsettling, wordless psychedelic chant. The dour intoning of ‘Fly on the Wall’ has shades of Joy Division if you squint your ears hard enough, but the reckless eight-on-the-floor electro-bass pulse takes things to a much more disturbing place – namely, the last disco before the global annihilation. A chorus of electronic urchins perform a bizarre, helium-sodden approximation of a Chinese folk melody appear on ‘Hear No Evil’.
Given the extremely limited instrumentation and a very distinctive aesthetic, there’s little variety in Black Pus’s hypercharged oscillator-core. It’s a simple but feisty formula: punishing bass squelch, manic drums, a man hollering down a length of drainpipe, repeat until bleeding profusely. As enjoyably visceral as all this is, the homogenous pummel begins to get wearing after a while. However, Chippendale provides a satisfying conclusion by easing off on the velocity – if not the volume – for closing track ‘A Better Man’, a doggedly steady grind that starts out unreasonably heavy and then accretes mass over its ten-minute duration.