Mattress – ‘Lonely Souls’ [Review]

AWOL Dolby-droid Rex Marshall (Mattress) is back at it with half a platter for the very fine Field Hymns label, following his 2008 LP debut (which apparently passed us by), and in time for the vinyl reissue of his ‘Eldorado’ EP from way back when Animal Psi was still feral.  Very amenable to those six tracks are the six tracks of ‘Lonely Souls’: comparisons stand to the delivery of Ian Curtis (now a little lower and a lot slower) and Suicide (the soundscape all electronic and slightly screwed), now with more emphasis on beats and precision layers of textured low-end.  A pulsing rotary complements the quavering layer of woahwoahwoahwoooaah on “Lied Again.”  “Shake Me” is not some Happy Days barn-burner, but a blackened church-burner of Danzigian defiance (“you can’t shake shake shake/you can’t shake shake shake/you can’t shake shake shake/shake me loose”) with a sequence of jerky dollops.  Live drumming from Ethan Jayne on “Dead Ends” cribs the flakaflak intro to Faith No More’s “Midlife Crisis”, sounding something like a MIDI-fied Black Keys with its organ rhythms and laundry list of bellyachin.  Closer “Only Lonely Souls” loops us back around to Joy Division’s “Dead Souls”, though shot-through with a cosmic beams, souding more like “Transmission” with a half-rusted pogo-coil.  Worth its weight in Alternative radio references, Marshall’s obvious contribution to the broadcast will be “Forget My Name”: made of the same 4 or five layers of choice vibe, the harmonics align and the groove locks, forcing even Marshall into the upper registers, harmonizing with second vocal tracks, punctuated by little rivets of electronic foible and stomping percussion.  On imprinted red cassettes with glossy inserts, hand-numbered with a DL code.  Recommended! 

Field Hymns cassette

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