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Theme – No Emotions Catered For

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Theme - No Emotions Catered ForThere’s a cryptic, arcane nature to the goods Theme offer up here; which strike me as Coil-like in a lot of ways — that corkscrew of dualities, those discordant magicks, the word-choked secretes, repeat ectoplasms weaving dissident truths.

“Enough is Never – Parts 1,2 & 3” begins in a cornucopia of effect-driven phrase-roasting on a skeleton’s ribcage, Richard Johnson‘s withering words tangling slipping — “NEVER ENOUGH,” a comment on consumerists’ dilating eyes perhaps? The aftershock echo “a broken habit” rooting an impression. There’s this lovely hypnotic quality to the wordplay that drags you drifting in a snakeskin of transparencies, until the skies are swallowed in a squawking herald of starlings. The drama then switches to an underworld of glistening ante-chambers, ghostly pedalos of back-churning drone chopping murky water, an impression killed by the sudden smashing of glass. The pace shuttering round it on robotically intones “enough, enough, enough,” as other phases mulch the limelight, roundhouse, fold over each other like ink-jet spiders crawling for your ears’ attention. The words insisting “all those chances repeatedly the same… the same,” a praying mantis of narrowing hopes, growing frustrations…curls of “repeating history… repeating history… repeating his story” disappearing on its own futile energies.


It’s a great start and only gets better with “Another Context Revealed,” a jewel of a song percolating in a myriad of soft acoustics, a warm worming of the pleasure centres, as silky spans of Amon Düül campfire guitar catches the syllables. The strong Eastern European accent, a fun house of mirrors, plying the words’ hypnotic fingers, grappling with atheism and religious viewpoints. Lukasz Kozak condemns religion as “bullshit” yet uses the concentration camps to suggest that “because of their beliefs they could withstand inhuman circumstance” — “it’s just a question of doubt’ he continues, later suggesting “everything is a poison” as the melody deliriously filter-falls around it, decaying, diminishing on wire-hit reverberations, Kozak apparently contradicting himself later on with “everything is a cure.” The clincher finally drops into the jigsaw: “it’s JUST a matter of the context.”

There’s a hell of a lot going on here, and I’m just giving you a taster. Feels Neitzsche-esque with the mental wounds of Camus that tangle you in contradiction. Thorny philosophics holistically furthered by a female voice (Olga Drenda) brainwashing you with delicious onion skins of negativity, a femme fatale mantra calling you to the rocks. “What is the point of your guiding light; your points contaminate,” she goes as water laps your bows to a whirlpool drag of “You’re pointless being here; your point is being here, you’re pointless being here; your point is being here.” All the while chords are cutting themselves up, stuttering in a dry mouth, percussive shivers slapped into a raga drone then slipped into a solid rhythmic slice of EBM as oars flank weed-choked water.

“A Past Forever Sick” continues on broken walkie talkie dialogues which remind me again of Coil’s “Penetralia” with less beat and more flexing electronics — “let’s cough up another plan,” goes Johnson, “Running on empty… Clutching at broken straws,” futilities digi-blanketing in crone drones and tarnished silver, the vocals getting all monastic, sounding like they’re channelling the late John Balance. Vaporised trails of “clutching broken; clutching broken; clutching broken,” slither-shot with “Fucking broken — fucking broken,” all venting on lovely discords, clarinet snakes and violin scrapes that feel like a curtain’s being pulled into a bloody bathtub. “Dust, shallow, dust shallow, dust,” like a holy conformation domino dotting echo on echo, diminishing on machined death throes.

The country-tinged prairie gambol of guitar on “Dream Your Dreams” is a bit of a surprise which accompanies an off-colour lullaby reminiscing in sinister whispers, flanked in cello, later cutting all diaphanous. A haze of watery owls caught in a slave drum percussiveness as words surf subliminally around an emphasised depth of tumbling layers. The penultimate “Logic is (Not) the Answer” is a lovely overdriven scrum, full of mind-buzzing pylons barbecuing more monastic chant, the mangled bed below whipping up the foreground in grainy-thrashed percussives, heating up to loudspeaker-thrown words on skidding eels: “define yourself… deny yourself… define yourself,” leading succinctly to the melt of sonar elves and submarine textures of the album’s closer “Those Codes Within,” its words slithering, scoping the reverse, sapphire spiralling on “reflect my, reflect my, reflect my, re-flec-t my…” re re-re-repeat fade outs.

If there was ever an antidote to the commodity culture we find ourselves sleep-walking through, this is it.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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