Mouthus The Long Salt

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Rating: 4.5/5

My first clue that The Long Salt isn't the iron-hearted Futuristic
immolator that its opaque chainsaw sound hues suggest is the fact that every
image it brings to my mind is of mechanical malfunction. Guitars like automated
theme park tyrannosauruses – on the fritz. Exhaust steam grooves churning like
tank treads, only the tank's stuck in a radioactive shit pile and can't break
loose. The drums, pumping pistons, but feedback seeps into the chamber like
molasses and gums everything up.

Mouthus might be at their most abrasive yet, but they're also at their most
colorful. The little tears in their menacing post-industrial assault -- the
snatches of Loveless-style pretty/ugly guitar meltdowns that veer in
during "What Knife Say"; the trance waves emanating from guest Samara Lubelski's
Henry Flynt-ish violin at the heart of "Ghetto Stairs"; the way that a humble
set of shakers almost overpowers meat-cleaving feedback slag in "The Burns of
Them" -- multiply until they become a full-blown rip in the seams. Credit it to
frequency, the hypnosis of repetition, or both, but all of these uncanny
non-noise elements compound until what would otherwise be a paean to the
legacies of Whitehouse and Borbetomagus reaches a point of identity crisis.
Where most noise rock puts its audience to the test, The Long Salt
subjects the concept of noise itself to trial by fire. It deals in as many kinds
of cacophony as are within its instruments' ranges, and finds that some forms of
deviance possess their own awkward grace. The players twist their tones until a
layer of beautiful quasi-melody emerges – again, some of the guitar sounds fall
closer to Kevin Shields's than probably any to follow in his wake, and they do
so without sacrificing the metallic sheen of the album's more confrontational

All of this talk of sweet and harsh sounds is highly subjective, I'll admit, and
my perceptions are no doubt warped by time spent with truly soulless,
devastating music; but it is clear that subtle changes do occur in the
eye of each song's cyclonic pulse, and these changes ring all the more
dramatically and mysteriously because the music's so dense that we can hardly
tell where they're coming from. To work through the same junkyard grind for
seven minutes straight piling noise upon noise, and to then wrestle with those
noises until they've somehow grown softer and richer, to the point that they
might even be construed as things of beauty – to engage in this sort of quest
for the endearing and human in the midst of such a hostile environment
demonstrates a sort of optimism that we don't generally associate with noise
artists. Say something about an analogue for our troubled times and diamonds
needing pressure to be born if you must – I just know that Mouthus make noise
for the purpose of finding sunlight in the ends of harsh means. In order to find
beauty in the unexpected, you first have to dive into something terrible,
discordant, or mundane, and in doing this so wholeheartedly, Mouthus convey more
hope-in-the-face-of-disaster than a score of Arcade Fires. In a wild fire, a
womb. Music like this doesn't happen very often.

1. Trains Again
2. The Burns of Them
3. What Knife Say
4. Ziggurats
5. Ghetto Stairs
6. WL


Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.