Review – ‘Pesticide.’ by Eleanor Burns
Building on the strengths of their eclectic first album ‘Dear Mortal,’ Clusterfuck’s new album covers both familiar and new ground while simultaneously feeling like a more unified offering. The opening track ‘Reach Out’ – almost an overture – starts us off on a powerful, Pink Floyd-esque note and sets the mood that will prevail through most of the album, pseudo-Gothic but with surreal, techno, progressive overtones. The second track, ‘Paranoia’ features a welcome return by guest vocalist Efa Supertramp and is one of the album’s highlights, with a sinister, driving techno beat accompanying the eerie lyrics and the whispering ‘inner voices’ chorus. The Gothic mood continues in tracks such as ‘Death Begins’ and the instrumental ‘We Are the Void,’ the latter in particular being another highlight, its dark electronic rhythms being varied by haunting harmonica fills that seem to echo out of the void (appropriately). Also in this mood – and another of the album’s finest offerings – is the cover version of T.Rex’s ‘Get It On.’ It somehow fits seamlessly into the group’s musical and vocal style, carried along by some beautifully haunting guitar work.
Other tracks set a lighter mood, especially the infectiously catchy ‘Besties’ and the wickedly satirical (yet outrage-inducing) ‘Trumped,’ which consists mostly of ‘lyrics’ culled from the 45th US President himself, along with well-chosen mocking, comically-timed samples. One would love to imagine him hearing it … The satirical mood becomes darker towards the end, with ‘Money’ and ‘Tazer’ commenting darkly on prostitution and police brutality, but concludes on a mercifully upbeat track with ‘Death Race.’
One track – ‘Pretty Shitty City’ – is particularly self-referential and feels more designed for live performance and acting out the lyrics, though insofar as it gives the home listener some idea of what it might be to see the band perform live, it is a worthwhile inclusion.
Overall, a very strong offering with many stand-out tracks, great versatility yet a distinct style, and well worth repeat listenings.
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