They call them ‘difficult second albums’ for a reason.
When it came to theirs, Beastmilk, later Grave Pleasures, were faced with a near impossible task.
After the perfect debut in ‘Climax’, expectations were sky high. Deliverables were not.
Torn between demands for more, lineup problems, and their own artistic needs, the resulting ‘Dreamcrash’ was a hash of compromises.
Now, it was good; thin, a bit ponderous, lacking oomph – but still good. It just wasn’t ‘Climax’ and was never going to be.
‘Motherblood’ makes all that seem a long time ago.
It also makes the departing members seem hasty – foolish even – to leave what does not require amazing foresight to predict was always going to be a winning band. It should still be called Beastmilk.
And this should have been its second album.
One could hardly ask for a better opener than ‘Infatuation Overkill’, as its dark surf rock powers out as if ‘Dreamcrash’ never happened.
The familiar energy and electric crackle are back. The guitars have power again, the speed is constant, the rock ‘n’ roll is dialled in to the absolute max.
McNerney, dark metal savant, is on highest form with the sometimes Danzig sometimes Dave Gahan gnash and baritone.
On the first twenty or so spins the cynic in me wondered how many stock surfcaster twanging intros couldnt be doused in reverb and not make it onto this album. There seems no end.
Yet they’re all just so gripping the similarity shouldn’t worry you.
Every song has its place. None break the mould (none did on ‘Climax’ either – that’s what made it so powerful).
‘Mind Intruder’ is a real standout though; the quickety fast hi-hats in ‘Falling For An Atom Bomb’ too are a treat.
The musical nods to the Clash, Bauhaus, Siouxsie Sioux are all appreciated.
It’s stirring too to hear C93’s David Tibet with his vatic intro speech – though despite my adoration of his work, I’m still not sure he actually fits musically into this album. The right guy in the wrong place? Maybe – it’s an artistic statement from McNerney, not a musical requirement.
If the album has an epic, it’s ‘Atomic Christ’ which has a bit more development in it than the rest, and whose lyrics have clearly been a bit more thought out – though as usual they’re awesome throughout.
The whole thing is just a triumph of satisfying, powerful, meaningful dark rock of the very best kind. Choruses abound. Verses demand to be sung.
It is the album that we all so desperately wanted and didn’t get.
But it’s here now, and it’s absolutely brilliant.
4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 11/10/17