Thursday, October 18, 2007

To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - The Patron

Download: To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - "Lovers and Liars"
Download: To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - "The Patron"
Download: To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - "Very Lovely"

To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie
The Patron (Kranky, 2007)
Grade: A-

Loneliness and acute isolation are difficult emotions to convey for an entire album, mostly because they're such alienating concepts to portray for an complete record's worth of material. So it's an incredible achievement that the full-length debut of Minneapolis duo To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie, The Patron, is such an intensely fascinating marriage of Portishead's chilly trip-hop with My Bloody Valentine's chrysalis of dreamy noise-pop.

The Patron starts off with bloodcurdling feedback (I pity the foo' who begins listening to this record with the volume all the way up) and then settles into the hypnotic pulsing drone of the title track. Eventually, the track devolves into abstract noise and sound manipulations, but above all of the sonic fray floats singer's Jehna Wilhelm angelic voice. Like the musical hybrid of Beth Gibbons and Rachel Goswell, Wilhem's vocals are the only warm thing about To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie's music.

Even though that humanity is an essential component in the band's sound, if it were not there The Patron would still be filled intoxicating sonic collages and haunting electronic textures. There are a scant few songs on the record that are shorter than 6 minutes long, and it's a credit to the band's sonic creativity that tracks like "Very Lovely", "Long Arm" and "The Man With The Shovel, Is The Man I'm Going Marry" never become turgid, boring or self-indulgent. When the group does do a song that's a little more melodic, such as "Lovers and Liars" or "I Box Twenty", To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie don't lose their experimental focus either. It may seem unbelievable that a ambient group would be able to figure out how to write pieces of music that are both tuneful and avant-garde, but in listening to The Patron, one discovers that To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie figured out that conundrum to the point of smashing success.

To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie play the Turf Club on Oct. 31st. Details here.

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(Jonathan Graef)

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