Foetus “Love” Reviewed by Julz Finley

I had an epiphany today. I recently gotten a copy of the new Foetus album called “Love” (which is about the most ironic title for this musical entity). Anyhow, the one song that sucked me sideways was “Don’t Want Me Anymore”. The musical landscape of this tune sounded like the Love Boat was sinking into Gondwanaland… and I was on my way down…

The contorted chord structures being so off kilter, and the voice of a drowning conductor, really made me feel like I was having an out of body experience. Thirlwell has really outdone himself this time… and his lyrics made me feel like he & I have shared the same skin at certain points. The rejection, haplessness, disarray and loneliness this song (as well as the rest of this CD imbues) is a tune that rings familiar from my own world-weary past. His lyrics are usually written in a comical wordplay that occasionally steals from 3 am infomercial lingo, and ties them into a delivery of a salesman with a mouthful of samples. Thirlwell has obviously had a love life that has been turbulent at best, but yet he’s not crying like a little Reznor-bitch! He has much more acumen and aptitude than a fucking Protools rim job-slob!
Photo by Philip Lethen.

The first song on the CD “(not Adam)” has quite a story to tell. At first it can be construed as a murder confession, but after much analysis, it can easily be applied to a possible feeling of guilt after someone close to you has either given up the ghost, or the relationship you had with them is dead. It’s fucking eerie. Sauntering along… the 2nd song “Mon Agonie Douce” is warming my heart the more and more I listen to it. It has that Serge Gainsbourg/Jacques Brel narrative quality that has made me feel flushed over the fervor it oozes. However, the story is not romantic… it’s anti-quixotic. It seems to be more of a kiss-off to a person who once used you as vacant lot to park their Citröen in.

You need to know a bit of French to understand the lyrics (I am the first to admit, mine is rusty), but the atmosphere of the music is also telling. “Aladdin Reverse” would be utilized very well in a Botox ad due to its contents mirroring an ageless personification. Think Peter Pan or David Bowie… someone who doesn’t seem age! “Miracle” sounds like another hopeless venture in Shitsville… but with a soundtrack that bleeds an agonizing familiarity… one of those “Get me the fuck out of dodge before I fuck some shit up!”- experiences. Growing up in upstate NY has often made me feel this way! “Blessed Evening” – clearly about people who think they are your comrade, but aren’t. The type that you cannot possibly rely on, but they use your “coolness” to give themselves some kind of notoriety… soft of like a namedropper… more and more this sounds like catty upstate NY behavior!

“Pareidolia” – a word not commonly heard or used means ‘a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (usually an image) being mistakenly perceived as recognizable. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, seeing the man in the moon, and hearing messages on records played in reverse.’ What springs to mind is having blind faith, or seeing the vision of the Virgin Mary under a Chicago Underpass (it’s a fucking stain… and that’s it, nothing more to see here!) I’m not sure if that’s what Thirlwell meant by that, but knowing his lyrical repertoire… it wouldn’t surprise me if he felt that way! “Thrush” a duet with Elysian Fields’ vocalist Jennifer Charles, is definitely a first for a Foetus record. At first I was skeptical about having the ‘hot chick’ singing someone else’s narrative… cooing breathy vocals, while the man does all the work… but this was one of those case scenarios where it worked out without that pretentious ‘chanteuse’ bullshit that usually applies. There was enough of the male perspective in this song to make it more digestible. Jennifer’s voice seems to be used as more of an instrument, more so than a means to whip out the Vaseline… and to that I say “thank god”!

“Time Marches On” reminds me of when you’re sitting at work, counting the fucking minutes until lunch or the end of the day… or when you were in high school daydreaming… those 45 minute classes seemed like a fucking eternity. However, the lyrics and music make you think you’re in for a ‘drag’, but it’s more like a ‘drag race’ against the clock of your life. Before you know it, your life has passed you by!

And finally… “How to Vibrate” the finale and longest track on this album is more of an orchestral piece, that to be honest, I haven’t listened to enough to figure out what the story is. The music however, is a nice “Underture” to an auditory jaunt that can only be offered by an artist like Foetus. Foetus is music that defies categories (although so many turds would like to pigeonhole it as “industrial”) and I refuse to categorize it, because it must be heard to be believed… kind of like Diamanda Gálas.

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