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- Tales From The Forbidden Garden by Susan Matthews
9/10 Mike Staff review, 03 May 2012
Outsider mentalist Susan Matthews is doing something a bit different on this new CD. It's all been based around a series of guitar 'jams' on an analogue tape given to Susan by her friend Laurence Kain shortly before he died. What she's done here is take those jagged, percussive jams, cut them up, manipulated them, and provided her own vocals and percussion and various other instruments to create something new and finished, and serve to document their friendship and Susan's loss. At the start it's a manic, deranged burst of wounded-animal aggression. Sonically chaotic and grimy, lyrically vulnerable and raw, with the delivery alternately channelling Birthday Party-era Nick Cave, Lydia Lunch and Eve Libertine. In the quieter moments there's often buzzes and creaks for a claustrophobic, panicky effect, and as the album progresses it moves more into disjointed, loop-based atmospheres. The songs are succinct enough to never lose your attention, conjuring surreal post-punk and chaotic noise and weird skittish atmospheres which are varied and focused and raw. A document of the final communique between two friends, there's an almost invasive sense of intimacy here as the desperate, grief-cracked singing of closer 'Almost As Already Is' rings hazily out. It's hard not to give it your full attention. An artful, honest and emotional mix of noise rock and ambient textures and altogether a unique and brave piece of work.
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