Friday, June 21, 2013

The Harold Pig Memorial (2002)

The Harold Pig Memorial
(2002, Fading Captain Series)

The 2nd Circus Devils' LP The Harold Pig Memorial (released on Halloween, exactly one year after Ringworm Interiors), is another dark walk down the long corridor of the inner psyche. Like the first LP, Todd Tobias plays all the instruments while Pollard takes vocal and lyrical duties. One time GBV member, Tim Tobias, adds guitar tracks.  

Unlike its predecessor, The Harold Pig Memorial is built around more fully developed songs and concepts, rather than the short, snippet, noise assault that made up Ringworm Interiors.  In fact, the LP is said to be a concept record in itself, focusing around the wake of the leader of a motorcycle gang in Vegas. I'll take their word for it. 

Alaska To Burning Men- Frost-bitten piano intro turns into rainy day guitar picking with ambient electric hum in the background. Great moody opener to this loose concept record.

Shaved Herself, Shaved Herself- 4  Slow building opener spills into steady, mid-tempo GBV style pop song with all the dark undertones of Todd Tobias chilling undertones. Hopeful, yet harrowing.

Soldiers Of June- 4  Percussive, folky, upbeat as shit. Great noodling guitar riff. Sounds like early '70s radio pop- rock, or a Peter Gabriel outtake.  

I Guess I Need That- Minute and a half guitar based, stiff-upper-lip bar rock song without any dark twists from the depths of the Circus Devils universe.

Festival Of Death-  Like a dark ballad from the mid-'80s while Pollard's vocals sound as if he's alone in an isolation chamber, crooning to the wall. Moody and cold, even somewhat effective!

Dirty World News- 2 Swampy, blues rock riff while Pollard's vocals ping-pong back and forth, and some swirling noises abound. The first real shrugable dud. 

We May See The Hostage?- 3  Moody, sad-sac, rainy day blues rocker.  Long winded, weepy guitar lines carry this through.

Do You Feel Legal?- Piano tinged, steady rock number that repeatedly takes an uncomfortable minor chord downturn after each phrase. Not much here in this one.

A Birdcage Until Further Notice- 2 Tick-tocking percussion, lone acoustic guitar in one speaker. Detuned, rhythmic guitar bends. Pretty boring.

Injured?- The 3rd and final song on the record where the title of the tracks is written in the form of a question. Cryptic vocal whispers out of one speaker repeats "Injured" repeatedly while Pollard sings over saddened, haunting acoustics. 

Foxhead Delivery- 3 Mid-tempo, rock riff song from the pigpen. Short, dirt-tinged, and fever dreamed pop-rock. 

Last Punk Standing- 4 Starts off sounding like a "Dream On" '70s knock-off, then pops into a rather ebullient, melodically standard Pollard part. Swings slowly back to the beginning pace of the track. A surpsingly enjoyable prog-punk song.

Bull Spears- 4 Speaking of punk, "Bull Spears" is a straight ahead new wavy, crunched punk-pop track.  Never cuts loose the way it should production wise, but welcome addition to the record. "Prepare this child to fight!"

Discussions In the Cave- Cowbell! Repetitive, sweeping guitar riff. Maybe the coolest song on the record. Organ blasts at the end make it!

Recirculating Hearse- 2 Dirgey bass line with guitar work that sounds like rewound chords flying off the tape reel. Pollard speaks the lines over it. Cool title, but mehhhh...

Pigs Can't Hide (On Their Night Off)- 3 Church organ drawls as Pollard sounds like he sleepily preaches beat poetry,while a gunfight breaks out in one speaker. Complete with police radio calls.  Eerie as shit.

Exoskeleton Motorcade- 1 minute guitar-crunch track with dripping bass. The concept of this LP is beginning to emerge.

Real Trip No. 3- 2  Instrumental, nightmare mood music. Not as grating as anything off Ringworm Interiors, but certainly acid damaged. Short and bitter.

Vegas- 3  Tremolo distortion pulsating over slow rock beat, held together by the bass.  No real melody to speak of. Steady, short moody rock song.

The Pilot's Crucifixion/Indian Oil- 2 Slow, bubbling dirge with tom rolls makes up "The Pilot's Crucifixion."  "Indian Oil" section of the song picks up with the same ominous underlying feeling as the first part of the song. A rather unpleasant way to spend 5 minutes.

Tulip Review- 1  Organ eulogy send off while glasses clink, and Pollard speaks some lyrics, apparently playing several different characters engaged in a disconnected conversation. Pollard explores his inner Samuel Beckett.

The Harold Pig Memorial-Extremely haunting, and bitterly cold Todd Tobias piano piece takes us out from the 2nd Circus Devils offering. As a song, it's just mood music worthy of no lone spin. In context of this as a concept record, it gets a 3.


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