05 Mar 2023 - Thorsten
Doomgaze | Thrill Jockey | Release date: 24 Feb 2023 | Favorite song: the fable of subjugation
Nature Morte is an ambiguous term in Canada. One the one hand it is the French term for a certain kind of painting and on the other hand it is a comment on the way we treat the world around us. The new record by Canada’s best “Doomgaze” band Big | Brave combines both meanings in a breathtaking fashion!
The first impression of the record is its cover depicting a withering ensemble of flowers, plastic flowers to be precise – if you follow VoS closely in the upcoming weeks you will find out more about the creation of the cover artwork. The picture shows an already artificial thing dying in front of our eyes; now taking into consideration that it cannot die basically, that already tells us a lot about how we deal with nature around us: Firstly we want to recreate it in an unnatural format – a barbaric act in a way in itself – and then we destroy what we created.
So by looking at this picture and thinking about it, one already sees that the six tracks on the record will not be all love and sunshine. Many tracks have a very dark sujet and thus the whole record comes along like a statement by the Montreal-based trio on the current state of affairs. In a way, this is their State of the World Address and believe me, not much will give you glimpses of hope. The music itself is once again mesmerizing in the sense that they wrap their arms round us and then draw our attention to a lot of the things that are wrong. And also those that are named wrongfully. Robin talks, screams, sings, whisper about the position of women in a pretty patriarchal society – how (male) desire can become violence (”the one who bornes a weary load”) and how that very desire is then clad in euphemistic words trying to sell male force off as voluntary female ‘subjugation’ (”the fable of subjugation”), which tries to talk away the force, trying to show that the choice of words can result in the act of cornering a woman, leaving her no choice, basically, but to agree on his actions as being wished for. That way women may cope with being raped, stalked or preyed upon, by telling themselves that his wish is her her wish as well. That is a way how domestic violence is often covered up. Because of these songs, this record is already a really important one. For we should not close our eyes to reality, pretending that everything happens for a reason and that the reason is usually wished for by more than partner.
Musically, the trio has grown closer and thus their soundscapes are even denser. Drummer Tasy shows how adapt she is and following those “on a dime”-shifts. Listen to ”the fable of subjugation” which over the course of its more than nine minutes takes a lot of turns. It starts with some melancholic guitar lines and Robin’s vocals somewhere between Björk and Cyndi Lauper. Tasy adds some minute percussion after roughly a minute and when Mat’s first amplified guitar-line rumbles on she keeps up with the percussion and a few hits on the cymbals. Every single sound magnifies the preceding ones, making every new second a bit larger than before without trying to go for the Post-Rock and Post-Metal-typical loud vs. quiet dynamics. Without noticing it, we find ourselves in the middle of a storm of cymbals, a few moments of silence and then the whole song explodes with the simple but highly effective march that Tasy gives us. It becomes more and more unclear which instrument is leading this song, simply because: not one single one does. All of them add up and add to the sound, the song structures and the record all in all.
This track will be one of my favorites of this year, because it is so good on its own and also as a symbol for the whole record. You get some folksy bits, loads of noise, some shifts by the rhythm section, enchanting vocals that make you think and a band at the top of their game, but seemingly not peaking but still moving on and progressing in their ventures. This is a statement-record in many ways; and all of them are good: There is no ambiguity in that!