I like experiential records; how uncensored and raw they can be. They’re not always as thematically connected as concept albums, but they retain that dynamic focus that pushes the record forward while pulling you the listener in. And, in this case, the proverbial rabbit hole descent comes with a soundtrack that’s potently intoxicating.
A one-man project of experimental twisting and turning, JEALOUSY is the brainchild of CCR HEADCLEANER’s Mark Treise. His sophomore record, Paid for It, manifests like a vision. Looped, layered and distorted, the sounds come together like a series of fragmented images flickering through Treise’s mind. Swaying from highs to lows, he meanders through nine hypnotic tracks as if going from room to room in an abandoned home studio, exploring the crevices and acoustics, picking at wounds from the past, deliberately pealing away the layers of illusion, and creating a space for his soul to sulk in peace.
And the fact that Treise doesn’t seem set on pleasing no one’s desires but his own is what makes this record all the more appealing. His uncompromising, self-indulgent attitude has not merely produced the self-portrait of a modern hedonist; it has resulted in a raw and intimate confessional of a complex existentialist. And while the “Man With his Electric Guitar” genre often falls short for lack of authenticity and depth—a two-dimensional line—the few but effective elements on Paid for It circle Treise’s existence like an armillary sphere.
A distinct element in this recording is drummer Don Bolles of the GERMS, whose dynamic presence equalizes the many smaller bodies of sound that gravitate towards Treise’s central system of exoneration: minimal, hypnotic bass with early electronic and industrial touches outlining the bi-polar post-punk that sways at the core. The compositions range from eerily neurotic and droney, to tense and trance-like, drawing on bands like SUICIDE, the VELVET UNDERGROUND as much as CHROME, PSYCHIC TV or MOON DUO. The cryptic poetics are murmured and moaned like Jim Reid channeling Alan Vega, and the alternations between scornful noise, lo-fi haziness and anodyne repetition reflect the nuances of a libertine enamored by self-destruction.
Tracks like “Doin’ a Little Time,” with its mesmerizing bass riff and distantly crashing cymbals, “Fresh Kill,” with its come-down revelations slurred over grated metal chords, and of course the ingeniously titled “Sentenced to Life,” where the vocals drip with decadent desire and the synths sound like an E trip to outer space. Hissing jabs of tonal aggression and a highly effective incorporation of real-world sounds—breaking bottles, snapping drumsticks, electric saws, field recordings—give the songs texture and perspective, and a thick air of unabashed bewilderment. It’s shambolic, impressionistic and rough—and unapologetically so—but that’s why it’s so appealing.
Stand out tracks: Sentenced to Life, Doin’ a Little Time, Eyes of my Love, Fresh Kill, Go Away
Out now on Moniker Records.