The arrival of deadCAT’s first full-length, eatSOME, signifies that there’s something bigger on the horizon for Britt Teusink and Gage Gilmore — bigger than the atrocity exhibition they’ve created with A. Grimes. It all begins with a haunted warble that wafts between the headphones before a familiar voice intones from far away, "It’s you against the dead ... Your family's born and bled out" / "You've been taken behind the shed with hopes of never to return.” There are no two ways about it, that’s some horrific shit, and it’s made all the more menacing by a collage of ghostly breathing slathered in reverb, and a thick air of doom and gloom that binds the song’s organic and electronic parts together. This is “Comagramasoma,” the album’s opening salvo, and rather than kick open the flood gates for a grotesque display of murk and miasma, it’s a sacrificial lamb. Aesthetically speaking, all of the lingering negativity that has come to define A. Grimes so far is gathered up and exorcised here in a creepy crawly swoop of two minutes and 44 seconds. The slate is wiped clean.
These guys are still getting their creep on, for sure. But they’ve made a clean break from the disemboweling gypsy-folk jangle that’s carried so much of A. Grimes’ darkness. And when the boom and clap of “One Piece Suit” takes over, all sorts of exotic and hellish new doors swing wide. Spaciousness is a major component under this new guise as minimal rhythms and melodies reel around each other in a lattice of shadowy pop formations. “BINGO Night” and “Nightswimming” bleed into each other, bound by a constant underlying shadow of echo and drone. Upon repeated listens a strain of mutant funk lying at the heart of it all is revealed, but Parliament this is not.
“BINGO Night” and the album’s most positively hypnotic collision of post-industrial texture and wattage, “Chhaam,” evoke dark sublimation as they skew the pop tendencies that this ghastly duo has consumed and regurgitated. As such, eatSOME is an utterly mesmerizing collection of songs that’s brilliant in its break from the corner into which Teusink and Gilmore have painted themselves with A. Grimes.
There’s also a peculiar sense of looseness to eatSOME that slithers by unnoticed, if you’re not looking for it. But underneath the reverb and resonance each song unfolds in short, sharp melodic blasts that rattle on for about for about two minutes, plus or minus, before moving on to the next dark fugue in the fog. Therein lies the true mystique of eatSOME — as the old adage goes, “if you’ve spent more than 20 minutes writing a pop song, you’ve taken too long.” Although deadCAT’s dark and slurred industrial palette probably isn’t what the person who dropped that nugget of wisdom had in mind, but it does seem to be the working method behind this stylistic breakthrough. And for all of the emphasis that’s placed on the group's monstrous fusion pop and ugly feelings, the album merely suggests an air of heaviness. The rest is left up to the listeners to take the cues and connect the dots as they will.
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