So, people get confused. People get fucked up. People get hurt. People fall apart. Everyone has been dumped and cried about it for ages, and everyone has dumped someone (and maybe regretted it). People sit and talk about it for hours, over way too many drinks. Mobiles add a whole new aspect to dumping, being dumped and getting over it all - you gotta get rid of the ex's number, especially if you're out drinking way too much all the time, which let's face it, you probably are. Then there's the whole culture of weepy movies, breakup TV, weepy adverts, sad songs, sadder songs, over-sentimental programmes... it can make the whole experience of splitting up quite abstract. Where's the sweeping orchestra music in the background when you leave your ex's house with that last box of stuff? And where's the neat-and-tidy together/grieving/apart cycle that's apparently the standard pattern now according to every sitcom and soap on Channel 4? The media has stolen all the most precious moments of our lives and shined them up until they're so glossy that the real thing somehow feels fake and incomplete.
Kevin Blechdom's new record contains all this and more. Or does it? Fuck knows. "Eat Your Heart Out" is an album drowned in a surreal bontempi-cheese sound palette - ridiculous fanfare trills, nauseatingly fake electric piano, the cheapest electronic handclaps this side of Pete Waterman and more melodrama than you'd find in a week's worth of Family Affairs. And there's a large dash of self-help language and introspective analysis in there too. Sometimes, you can kinda start to empathise with it all a little. But then, suddenly - a saxophone solo that's so horrifically cheesy and reverbed that it's hard to keep your dinner down, and it's all switched back to fakeness an maybe-irony again, gritty and hysterical and false and cheap and so awful that you wanna tear the CD out of the player and throw it away, but so compulsive and catchy that it's just impossible.
(left) Blechdom live in Berlin (right) the original album artwork
Trying to pull the wires out of this record and see exactly what makes it such a mess of contradictions doesn't really help. Why is this horrible set of sounds wired into such genuine heartbreak? Why is this horrific desperation framed in the most obnoxious, huge, inflatable gold-gilt frame in the shop? The frame is so huge it's sometimes hard to focus on the picture. It sounds like a wedding singer, but put through a hellish seven year marriage with multiple affairs, violence, emotional and psychological torture, and then set up with a Casio keyboard and a lungful of nitrous oxide and asked to play her own divorce party. Imagine the carnage.
So - musically horrible and conceptually ambiguous, but impossibly addictive and bizarre, this record escapes any easy definition that you try to impose on it, and comes at you from so many angles that it makes you dizzy. Every time you get close to packing it all away and understanding exactly what it is, there's another explosion of ideas and you are left doubting everything you felt so sure about a minute ago. Terrifying post-modern neurotic/ emotional realism! You don't find that in many pop records do ya.
Album of the year.
9John Brainlove's Score