Those Poor Bastards - Gospel Haunted
Another quality release from Those Poor Bastards that mixes folk, gospel, electronic, and rock elements into a hodge podge of frightfulness. And I am not speaking of being scared by a ghost or creature, but, instead, a deep, welling presence of nothing. The same nothing that Camus and Sartre and Lovecraft spent their whole career describing and dealing, existentially, with. These guys are nihilistic “bastards” and I hope they have a little more than this deep nothing in their music, because if they don’t then I am not sure how long they will be around before the futility takes its toll.
This album is easily shows their talent, musically, and their ability to challenge and question the status quo of society and religion. I found this album to be intriguing, but not near as satisfying as their last effort. This one strikes me as having a little too much propaganda of their own personal beliefs bolstering the foundations of the album. It would be one thing if their beliefs weaved through the music subtly and creatively (like I would say some of their records were successful at), but they ceaselessly lay their cards on the table on this album; the worst offender, of course, is “Chemical Church.” While I understand the sentiments that they speak of (and that I actually do enjoy the song, musically), I find their condemnation misguided and not helpful, and, too be quite honest, not that creative. Nonetheless, long time fans of Those Poor Bastards will find much in this album to love.
After listening to five albums and going into two weeks of EPs, I am getting the feeling that these guys do not veer much from the formula. Though I am not one of those people who feels that artists should “evolve” from record to record, I think it is usually good to be playful with the formula, to keep their fans guessing and to see where the exploration takes them, musically. Those Poor Bastards is not one of those bands and, if I have one critique of the band as a whole, it is simply this: at the end of the day, if you listen to one album, you have pretty much heard what these guys have to offer.
Apocalyptic Rating: 6 out of 10 (It has poisoned us all)
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