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Review: Old Time Relijun – 2012

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2012
Old Time Relijun
(K)

I would say that out of all of the Modern Pea Pod staff, I am the most likely to go dancing. Actually, there’s no doubt about it: I am the token dancing girl. If there is music with a rhythm playing, my ass wants to start shaking. That’s just how my world is. But, in all of my quests for danceable music, did I ever think I would find myself wanting to dance to Old Time Relijun? Hahahahha… No.

Old Time Relijun’s previous albums have all sounded like the work of Captain Beefheart’s undead cousin. Their songs were creepy, angular swamps that the listener had to wade through with garlic cloves firmly in hand, a prayer constantly lingering on the tongue. But something has changed in the year between Lost Light and the new album 2012. My personal thought is that someone bought Arrington DeDionyso a copy of NO NEW YORK for Christmas – because in DeDionyso’s vision, the year 2012 is filled with zombies, wolves and vampires (among other creepy kin) who suddenly know how to shake their asses like it’s 1978. In some songs, like “Chemical Factory” and “Your Mama Used to Dance”, it even sounds suspiciously as if they hired James Chance to come play sax for them.

Despite the monster dance party, however, Old Time Relijun still know how to turn a girl’s spine into ice. The impenetrable instrumental, “Magnetic Electric”, with a heart-quickening beat amidst its grey myriad fog of noise, still makes me glance nervously out my window even after five listens. “Her Fires Chill Me” is another return to the morose – the musical equivalent to walking alone through the graveyard on Halloween night. The ghouls are hiding in the corners and kid, all you have is a bag of candy. But as scary as the two aforementioned tracks are, easily the most painful track on 2012 is “Tundra”. I am not sure what instrument is used to make “Tundra”‘s ectoplasmic sound; all I can say is it sounds like a Scottish bagpipe made from a middleaged man’s spastic stomach. In short, only masochists will want to listen to this song for pleasure.

But the dichotomy of sounds old and new come together at last on the final track, “The Blood and the Milk,” and it’s business as usual for Old Time Relijun. Organs echo, the saxophone returns (albeit considerably slowed down), ambient noise that may or may not come from bats and a typewriter flickers in and out…and somewhere out there, a child who accidentally heard this record is crying himself to sleep.

Reviewed by Megan Giddings

This review is also posted on The Modern Pea Pod. ED/PUB:LM

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