Entertainment for the Braindead – Hydrophobia (Aaahh Records)
It’s unnerving when music makes you feel slightly nervous. Especially when the music is, in theory, about as unnerving as a sack full of kittens on a temperate Spring morning in a meadow full of blooming flowers. And it’s even more bizarre when, at first glance, the music you’re listening to is from the same routinely dull stable of female singer/songwriters as any number of sultry toned, ‘eccentric’ and all too often twee chart regulars, much beloved of people who’d rather not actually hear the music they’re listening to. Still, such oddities do appear in this world of ours and Entertainment for the Braindead, solo project of German, Julia Kotowski and a host of random instruments which’d be the envy of most anyone, does a good job of suprising.
It’s a bit pointless trying to make valid comparisons after a lead up like that but categorisation is the joy of musos the world over so I’ll give it a stab, The Espers, Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, those two offer up the best similarity I can think of right now which places EFTBD thankfully on the more interesting side of Folkiness. She does, undoubtedly, ply the same trade and use the same tools as an awful lot of less impressive singer-song writers, neither music nor lyrics offering anything particularly unique (although the lyrics do have share of the overall products dark edge, apparently focusing on drowning and sinking as they do), and her voice whilst certainly good doesn’t appear to be taxed towards anything out of the usual but this album does have a bit of an edge about it, or rather a lack of an edge, an inverted edge which, by virtue of not being particularly edge like, manages to fulfill the same role as an edge. Or something like that. It’s hard to pin down what’s special here, really, it is, although there’s definitely something there and that’s the something which makes this album ever so slightly unnerving. ‘Tis almost as if a whole other album was designed, a far less impressive one with nothing to mark itself out, and then it was decided to re-record the whole thing in the woods late at night whilst communing with dark forest spirits, thus imbuing what we ended up hearing with something just that little bit dark. And that’s an analogy I’ll defend to the grave, that’s how goddamn good it is. The analogy that is. It’s that dark, almost morbidly hollow tinge which makes this album notable.
Anyway, yes, Folky, a little dark, well produced given the presumed non-existent budget for all NetLabel artists and well worth a listen. Although it’s rather hard to say why it works so well.
Which makes me rather a shit amateur reviewer really.