Blackout Beach, Fuck Death

Ian Cohen

By Ian Cohen

on 11.15.11 in Reviews
Uncompromising and artistically intimidating

A mainstay of Montreal’s indie royal court during the past decade, Carey Mercer is also its most verbose and prolific member — which is saying something. If there’s any commonality between his work with Frog Eyes, Swan Lake and solo project Blackout Beach, it’s that none of those efforts find him wanting for words, nor do they attempt to meet the listener halfway. So it’s no idle boast that Fuck Death might be Mercer’s most uncompromising and artistically intimidating work to date; Mercer took the title from a Leon Golub painting and the inspiration from both the Book Of Job and “the awesomeness of Platoon to the 10-year-old mind”; the 12-minute centerpiece is called “Drowning Pigs.” While Mercer’s lyrics are too obscure, and his vocal honk too erratic, to really determine whether he made good on fully capturing “coward’s songs” during wartime, as a pure sonic experience Fuck Death is every bit as absorbing or laughable as that all sounds, depending on whether you’re in the “take it” or “leave it” camp. Guitars, hooks or choruses of any sort are shelved in favor of fevered narratives and hovering ambience to the point where you wonder whether Fuck Death is Mercer’s distended send-up of chillwave. Proceed accordingly.