L.Minygwal - _E'er_
(Virusworx, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
I have no idea what the band name is supposed to mean, but apparently they used to be called Lost in the Supermarket back in demo stage. Furthermore, as far as I know the album title is as likely to originate from someone with no lips trying to say "ever" as from a poetic use of the word -- because the former actually makes more sense in the context of the music than the latter. I'll spell it out: _E'er_, L.Minygwal's second full-length, is a -really- weird album. It opens with a sampled speech by a woman who seems to be on the phone, and one basically spends the entire 7:35 of the opening track waiting for the sample to end and the song to start -- only it doesn't. Heavy, plodding guitars play along to the mostly incomprehensible conversation, and shrieks surface for some time midway through the track and again near the end -- that's it. The second track continues with the doom and noise influences, but now features some smooth female vocals; this is a rather good track in a strange way. Things seem to stay more or less the same for the first minute of the third track, titled "I Excessiv-ly Read My Letters Frantic-ly and Memorize 'Em Manic-ly" (sorry, I couldn't help it), until the apparently sweet female vocalist suddenly begins to mercilessly shred her vocal chords on disc. Think Karen Crisis on the more desperate side of things. The song gains a considerable amount of intensity from this, and certainly makes the listener sit up and pay attention. After all the hysteria comes a more tranquil, ambient track, but its disquieting background noises make sure you know there's more to come. And indeed more painful shrieking comes your way next, in a noise-based track followed by an unremarkable interlude. This leads into the 11:30 final track, which begins very much on the ambient side of things, with some pretty touches and a very different feel from the rest of the album -- almost reminding me of Maudlin of the Well. Three minutes from the end the heavy guitars kick in for a few moments, but nothing really happens and the track ends on an ambient note again as a sort of anti-climax after all the insanity. The album clocks in at 40 minutes, which minus the lengthy opening and closing tracks means there's only about 20 minutes that are actually worthwhile -- but those are 20 minutes the likes of which you are unlikely to find elsewhere in terms of disturbing weirdness and intensity.

(article published 28/4/2003)

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