Metal Rouge – ‘Soft Erase’ [Review]

soft_erasePhew! This one almost fell through the cracks of what became a three month review hiatus. That would be a shame. Yes it’d be a shame because it’s a solid LP of Metal Rouge’s spooky, modish psychedelia in the vein of Les Rallizes Dénudés – though the quality of the songs and their choice blend of garage/shoegaze production aren’t really the issue. It’s more like, what a shame that such a big, confident sound might be drowned out by the bangs and whimpers of so much once-measure, once-cut small-batch tape filler. Recalling that rare, fading Red Kites CDr in spaciousness and ulterior motive, ‘Soft Erase’ bleeds the cool, poisonous mercury of its cover into each of the four jam bouts that we find groaning, swirling, or sizzling of these two sides. “Take It” begins the disc with a wall-to-wall installation of Andrew Scott’s heaviest grooves, over which accumulate layers of wordless howls and staticky beats, buoyed precariously and ending without assurance. Some relief comes from “When Will the Blues Leave,” an interlude fitting golden-era Sonic Youth but with bolder leads, flicking forth a sleigh-bell melody from a small barricade of fuzzy/jangle guitars slightly askew of the background wooziness of a de facto rhythm section. On the reverse, “Dig a Hole” recalls avant- experiments from the Echo to the Silent Barn, arranging the vocals of Helga Fassonaki in a cove of loping bassline and even pulse, shot-through by a benign flashback of acidic guitar. With such a tracklist – wider than it is tall – it takes until the last track, “White Cube Graffiti,” to really gather the essence of ‘Soft Erase’ formula: skating wildly and recklessly with saxophone blasts across these dense accumulations of grooves and programmed beats, there is little pair can do to break the appearance of a rhythmic totality, as if these tremors will carry endlessly to the coasts. That they often do their best to press this logic only underscores the antagonism and sure-footed arrogance so critical at this stage of underground production. Wild and reckless, yes, but very big, necessary, and not to be over-looked. Edition of 300 copies.

Emerald Cocoon LP

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