Saturday, August 27, 2016

Vomitface Full Length "Hooray For Me" Holds Up A Dirty Broken Mirror For You To Gaze Into

Within the stalking fray of Fat Witch off of Vomitface's new full length Hooray For Me (on Help Yourself Records) which was just released yesterday there is the line "my disgusting skin and bones, my breath clogged inside your nose" sung with a healthy dose of self hate by Jared Micah (which soon erupts into full blown white padded cell screaming) and in It's Me the imagery the band paints of standing water in a sink slowly boils over into a pure sense of unease as Micah despondently sings "when I'm in Hell I'll save you a seat but next to me unfortunately" while the music spits and sputters around him until the vacant stare sound peters out.

All the songs on Hooray For Me painted with an ultra low heavy sub sonic wash of dirty disjointed guitar, bass and drums play out like pained stories on the dark (self loathing) side of the human condition. The sonic sense from the unease of being human itself to - relationships destined to be broken to - already being severely broken but trying to be better, trying to be normal. Comparisons to Nirvana, Mudhoney and the Pixies are inevitable although Vomitface as grungy infected as they are strike a different chord although I must admit that I was feeling the wee ghost of Nirvana on two tracks that (for better or worse) are back to back, Slow Learner (a sledge hammer of a song that inspires an old fashioned circle pit) and Dramamine (one of the more chill songs on the album with a chorus melody with self harmonies that do feel Cobain-esque) and, by the way, this album was recorded by the one and only Steve Albini.

Vomitface is a 3 piece outfit and Albini did an excellent job of not over producing. The sound is just the way it should be stark and in your face. I specifically thought of Albini's hand when I listened to Chew Toy whose lyric "Hooray For Me" became the album's name. I have to say that it sounds subdued on this record. I have heard the song performed live and here it is slower, less ballsy. Now to be fair it is common that bands play their songs faster live but if it was Albini's decision to slow it down  then (in my humble opinion) it was a mistake. Yes, even God's make mistakes. Still Chew Toy as presented on the album is a great song. It is a sardonic, self deprecating course in self help gone bad. The groove is killer and the chorus immersive.

I think that Vomitface could put a twisted spin on any normal event. It is a healthy exercise to look at what we call living and ask why. I get that sense in Senior Pictures where the self gradulatory practice of portraying ourselves in a photographic image is skewered. It is a prudently relevant song in the selfie decade. Wait has gotten an unplugged vibe (no that is not a Nirvana mind flash or maybe it is?). The most playful track is If Then. Jared Micah's vocal performance feels more out there in a kind of declarative, kind of burlesque way. He spews the lyrics like a huckster but obvious entertainer. The song is off kilter and as possibly sick as your average high desert carnie.  Et Cetera feels like the most hyper track. In fact this time signature twister swings in spots in an almost indie pop way, I said almost and I like the clever lyrical spins like "suck it up soliloquist... grind your teeth, clench your fist." If there is one song that is appropriate for toddlers (now go with me on this) it is Eastern Bloc Party. There is something genteel, charming in Micah's performance. To be sure there is plenty of nihilism but it is coated with a perfect amount of Eddie Haskell-esque kiss assness.

The core of Vomitface is Jared Micah (vocals, guitar) and Preetma Singh (drums) and while bassist Keller McDivitt played on previous EP's and tours, Angela Phillips played bass on Hooray For Me.
Any select group of people hearing this album will think of some iconic grunge bands, they will, there is no way of getting around that and some won't be able to get past that but who cares. Those kinds of people are stuck. Just listen to this album take it in, absorb it fully and I can't imagine that it will not get under your skin in a good way. Revel in the smartly sardonic lyrics that hold a mirror up to the human condition and thoroughly toxic sound that will gloriously tweak your synapses. Then go take a shower.

Notes: It's all good man but essentials are Fat Witch, Eastern Bloc Party, Chew Toy, Slow Learner, Senior Pictures.

Robb Donker

The debut LP from Toronto rock trio (recently re-located from NYC) Vomitface is due out on August 26, 2016 on Help Yourself Records. Recorded and mixed by Steve Albini.

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