Puce Mary
Persona [LP; Posh Isolation]

Persona’s inner sleeve features 25 pictures of attractive, often-naked women with their facial features scratched out — as if by a thumbtack or pin. That’s what many victims of Bosnian atrocities came home to in their living rooms, and it’s also, if I’m not mistaken, a technique enjoyed by serial killers. To me this graphic portrayal is as, if not more, disturbing than a million bloody heads on a metal LP jacket, and the burning digital screams of “The Course” only serve to deepen the wounds. Puce Mary pound life to death, not with volume, speed, or vocal rancor but with long, cold stares. They employ dark, often unpredictable rhythms, which often camouflages their intent, but it’s all in the service of a steady diet of screechy, yet sub-harsh, noise. My gut reaction to “The Course” registers the violence on a scale of Èlg to Wolf Eyes to Disco Inferno, a queer, cacophonous track that sets the stage for a comedown shift into ambient territory for a short spell. Once the anguished, choked screams of a tear-gas victim become audible, it’s apparent the moment of ‘ahhhhhhhhh’ was but a ruse. Soon the death machines of industry begin clanking along with the plaintive tone poems and you realize Puce Mary own beauty and brawn, their mastery of both reverberating through the rest of this intimidatingly impressive, limited, import LP. “Pigs” keeps the ovens churning albeit in a less overtly ominous direction, featuring a train chugging over crickets, a broken whistle, and a ham radio making no contact whatsoever. “Impure Fantasy” could menace many-a listener through title alone, and the grunts and kinked-up moans aren’t going to help anything. Again, I should stress this, however: Side B is a much more subdued stalker that will haunt your dreams, not your walk to the car at 3:30 a.m. downtown. Even when it sounds like bugs are eating a distressed screamer and crawling down his throat as he slowly dies, care of the title track, there are no large beats or distinctive sounds save for helicopter whirs and a distant thump or two. I keep flashing back to that Twin Stumps record (Seedbed) because Persona seems to channel all that album’s rage inward until emotions boil and bubble over. Yet the temperature never splits the thermometer, so there’s no healing, no closure. More current comparisons would be German Army/Merx and maybe Social Junk’s more rhythmically rooted moments. One of the best of the year by a wide margin, so get your heads ready you stupid bitches.

Cerberus

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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