Double Leopards/Mouthus/Sunroof! - Crippled Rosebud Binding (Music Fellowship 2xLP)
The long-awaited fifth installment in the Music Fellowship's Triptych series has finally arrived, and it went as fast as it came (800 copies pressed + a preorder period that went on forever will do that to you). So hopefully you were one of the lucky ones who got while the gotting was good, and the gotting was definitely good. These four sides bring together two of the Newer Weirder faces in Double Leopards and Mouthus (both from New York) and the Older Equally-Weirder face of England's Matthew Bower, in Sunroof! mode for this joint. This set had "slammer" written all over it and could do no wrong, in my noodle as well as the respective noodles of many others (save Siltblog). But since I have to pretend like I'm some kind of objective reviewer, let's go through the motions!
The Double Leopards side starts us out with "...", and it was probably a good idea to have them bat lead-off. There isn't much activity in a given Leopards tune (not to a fault) whereas Mouthus and Sunroof! tend to be a bit more active...so a spacey Leopards track after a rabid Mouthus bloodfeast and a vintage white-hot squiggly Sunroof! jam would not a good idea make. Or maybe that's just me. Anyway the Lepz provide the perfect runway for the set's celestial blast-off, blazing about like a church procession gone bonkers. The track also showcase some distinctly male vocals (or either Marcia or Maya has a severe headcold) which isn't entirely commonplace, or at the very least audible, on many DL tunes. My only beef with this song is that it sounds like something that was left on the floor of the Tar Pit from the "A Hole is True" sessions.
Mouthus play "God of Moth" next and if you've ever seen the duo live you have a pretty good notion of what's happening on this number. It's a heavier side of Mouthus, like two cavemen playing primitive instruments in the Atacama rain. About halfway through there's a tectonic shift in the tribal plates and the rhythm bears down until the break of dawn...or whenever the groove runs out.
Sunroof!'s Matthew Bower splits his side into two parts. The former ("Untitled") has Double Leopard and Bower's co-conspirator in Hototogisu Marcia Bassett playing guitar while the latter ("Cortez tha Killa", bearing little or no resemblance to the Neil Young tune) has Mick Flower of the Vibracathedral Orchestra doing lead guitar. So, what exactly makes the first one a "Sunroof! w/Marcia Bassett" song as opposed to a Hototogisu song? I really don't know. Sonically it's not too dissimilar to Hototogisu's wailing, ecstatic, ripped sheet-metal drones although perhaps a bit more tepid than the screamers found on their more widely available releases "Green" and "Prayer Rug Exorcism". The second track is a whopper, and possibly the highlight of the whole caboodle. It's a freak-out boogie reminiscent of early Skullflower records but with the metal and proto-industrial replaced with a silky, screechy, shard of electric country, backed by (presumably) Bower on acoustic guitar. Much more structured than recent Sunroof! output; no less mindfrying.
The fourth and final side is "Haunches": the culmination of the whole thing, all seven musicians playing together. The side begins by recalling "Astronomy Domine" and slowly lurches forward, like some kind of impossibly large stone golem stretching its limbs. It's creaky, towering, and intimidating - and probably more calculated and controlled than you'd expect from all these miscreants in one room at a time. By the end of the side I'm reminded of one of Matt Bower's Skullflower song titles: the pirate ship of reality is moving out.
All said and done everything here is a total winner down to the packaging, a heavy gatefold with art done by the Mouthus dudes. What would've made it even better if is all three projects contributed to the design, considering much of the time they do the art for their own releases anyway. Still, a minor complaint. Like I said before, the label is sold out so hustle your bustle over to the usual distros and try your odds at scoring one before it's reeeally too late.