Efrim Manuel Menuck - Pissing Stars

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2018-02-02
Efrim Manuel Menuck - Pissing Stars
Efrim Manuel Menuck - Pissing Stars

Efrim Manuel Menuck, the founder of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion takes a second solo run with Pissing Stars. If you are by any chance expecting the king of post-rock dystopian visions (I’m not sure if he would be pleased with that title) is coming up with something a bit more light-hearted, you might simply search for something else, or wait for another time. I get the impression you might just keep on waiting.

The thing with both of his bands is that Menuck obviously has a general vision of things and it is just a matter of how his projects, musically, and in this case of Pissing Stars lyrically fit within it. And yes, the bleak visions of dissolution, distress, and dissipation are here again, it is a question of how you as a listener fit in and accept them.

Menuck’s visions are certainly anything but impenetrable, as he’s got a brilliant musical touch that usually hits right to the point. But neither on this, his second solo project, nor previously does he seem resigned with the problems he sees, it is always some form of action, change that Menuck seeks both from himself and from his listeners. Yes, it is a hard, tough vision, the question is - what are you going to do about it?

On Pissing Stars Menuck builds the musical story, as he himself puts it, by a brief romance of an American television presenter, Mary Hart, a pretty face with obvious viewer appeal and Mohammed Kashoggi, son of the infamous Saudi Arabian arms dealer. “It got stuck in me like a mystery, like an illumination - this vulgar pairing that was also love. This privileged scions of death and self-alienation, but also love”. Of course, this is just a starting point for Menuck, he obviously has deeper social and particularly political things in mind as well as their consequences.

And yet again, as with his other band projects, Menuck is able to draw the listener into his visions, with intricate musical changes that have their ebb and flow that are, yet again, bleak and revealing, even at moments that he seemingly ‘rocks out’, like on “A Lamb In The Land of Payday Loans”. The title more or less tells the story in itself.

The album was mostly done with Menuck using his guitar and a modular synth, with quite a bit of processed vocals, that, probably intentionally, make you pay attention to his lyrics. Again, while you can definitely recognise Menuck’s musical touch, it is somewhat removed from either Godspeed! You Black Emperor or Thee Silver Mt. Zion, still giving you the distinct impression that is a part of that musical whole.

While a bit less penetrable than some of his other releases, Pissing Stars is an album that unwinds, making you peel its layers slowly, reaping rewards along the way. He did it again.

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