♫♪  Blackout Beach - “Beautiful Burning Desire”

The first minute of “Beautiful Burning Desire,” the opening track of Blackout Beach’s new album Fuck Death, is a shimmering, encouraging wash of sound — like an aural equivalent of the Great White Light that has become symbolic of life’s end. In other words, death is where the song and the album begin. However, true to the discontent expressed in the album’s title (say it with me now: Fuck Death), the song soon changes: the wash cuts out, Carey Mercer’s voice comes in wavering, and he pairs digital Zelda-esque arpeggios over bongo-like beats. Eventually the rhythm dies down again and a soundscape like passing wind carries a broad aria of an outro. Think sort of like a slightly peppier Scott Walker. But most importantly, a minute into the song, it moves past the death-sound, and it’s as if the rest of the album is a repudiation of death itself. Thesis, antithesis.

Mercer says in a press release that he considers “run away” the album’s most significant lyric. But run where? Bora Bora or some hellish woods? He suggests that our world needs to reassess cowardice. “The longing in Fuck Death is not romantic; these are deserter’s songs, coward’s songs.” But this is problematic: “Beautiful Burning Desire” is clearly not the product of an artist acting out of fear, but out of boldness and defiance. Maybe Blackout Beach’s real mission is to cause this confusion, and in doing so define the different kinds of desertion. “Fuck death,” though crass, can either be a phrase of informed, heroic rebellion or something reactionary, mumbled by a kid who’s not ready to accept what he must accept. Either way, Mercer shows us that there’s a desert out there, and though it might be barren, at least it’s a new place to go.

Fuck Death is out November 15 from Dead Oceans.

• Blackout Beach: http://www.myspace.com/blackoutbeach
• Dead Oceans: http://www.deadoceans.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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