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Black Vatican: Split (with True Primes)

Black Vatican: Split (with True Primes)

Release Date:2008
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Black Vatican

By Michael Byrne | Posted 6/18/2008

Baltimore-by-way-of Iowa duo Black Vatican make some wonderful racket, its fried AM radio trashed pop jams recalling recent outings from Ariel Pink's aggressive bottom-of-the-well lo-fi, Panda Bear's Brian Wilson-toting crooning vocal serenades, and, certainly, not-so-recent Pere Ubu. You can hear things frying and being abused--what sounds like kitchenware percussion; big, echoed electronic "zonnngggs;" a rupturing, or close to it, speaker diaphragm. During "I Don't Want to Fight" the drums, vocals, and tortured surf guitar distort into each other, almost becoming indistinguishable, before clearing like a summer drive-by thunderstorm.

As a whole, it's quite fun and bop-able. The album's closer, "Now You've Been Told," just makes us smile--vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Andy Roche, recorded like he's singing from down the hall, is barely intelligible as he makes a sort of pre-lingual babble of "ah"s and "oh"s--in a mix of floating winds, bells, and snare-drum punctuation that enters and exits at will. "Touch Teacher" is some kind of anarchic junkyard dub, and "Doggerel" incites a cosmic-scale aesthetic war in four-minute miniature--circuit-bending fuckery aided by big industrial gobs of dark clatter that duel with tinny, insectile percussion, while Roche intones, in a voice that suggests peaceful transcendence, "doggy doesn't recognize his master/ doggy's just a dog, hereafter." Like the above-mentioned artists, Black Vatican's side of this split LP--Brooklyn, N.Y.'s True Primes' flip side being pissy with breakbeats--pulls itself successfully out of the avant-music time line, fashioning instead a clever feedback loop well worth picking up.

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