I’ve a peculiar affinity for songs, and especially albums, that open with a cathartic scream.
When a singer lets loose with an up-front shriek—as Strange Attractor’s Jeff Houle does in the first five seconds of Back To The Cruel World—he’s handing listeners a reason to press STOP, should they be hunting for one, and informing those who’ll be sticking around: “Fair warning—this ain’t gonna be pretty.” Label Mammoth Cave echoes: “Strange Attractor have made one of the most surprising, compelling and honest LPs of 2013 that no one will hear.”
Cruel World is a basement recording in all the desirable ways—you’re in the dungeon with them, catching the reverberations of the strings and the wall-to-wall echoes. It comes with teenage angst and alienation (perhaps even literal aliens) aplenty: “I just wanna feel… anything!” Sample song titles: “Feel Like Total Shit,” “This is Total Shit,” “I’m Total Shit.”
Devilishly gruesome noise. Check out “Real Dark Place” below.