Swamp Horse – ‘Subtle Dementia’ [Review]

Josh Lay and Morgan Rankin drop the latest from their Swamp Horse collaboration, recorded for their co-operated Husk Records.  The first of the Horse to appear on vinyl, ‘Subtle Dementia’ is an apt title for a record defining artistic autonomy.  From the cartoonish Rankin drawing on the cover – Crumb-edelic, doubling the absurdist vibe of the titling scheme – to the general absentee nature of this pair of dark ambient excerpts, these two are clearly their own closed circle.   Side B is familiar to previous works, with a scuzzy backdrop of well-turned murk and a shrieking, mechanistic wobble overneath.  But for the centerpiece and namesake, there’s an expansion to full-on horror, almost-schlock baroque slither; an Omen-era stalker of howling pseudo-choir and psychotic, three-chord repetition, the subtleties of this small sketch would be lost without the looking-glass frame of the 7” like a staring into a giant eyeball.  Yet in spite of the short run of just 100 copies, the disc is a sincere invitation to the likeminded.  The back cover holds endearing portrait: Lay a boss in his beard and Etnies, Rankin glowering from behind, unfortunately not showing off his Husk tattoo.  Bundled with a sticker and a punk patch, the guys definitely welcome initiates.  For all the idiosyncrasy and bleakness of their sound, there’s a real story here and real storytellers, making it easy to imagine the community is there for these guys.  On brown vinyl.

Husk 7”

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