To Live is Dying, Saved in Bombay

So, after getting this in the mail the other week and listening several times, I've finally formulated a review for the new To Live and Shave in LA. Here's the XYCified version:








Artist: To Live and Shave in La
Album: Noon and Eternity
Label: Menlo Park

What has happened here!? Tom Smith and his demented vehicle To Live and Shave in LA have returned with a behemoth of brooding sound unlike anything theyve released before. The tracks are long, tedious and still a difficult pill to get down, although this time it isnt as much for the abrasiveness, oh no. This time, its for the sheer size and depth of the cavernous compositions within, roaming through a desolate black canyon of bad acid trips and stereophonic drifts. Gone are the abrasive shitstorm of samples and destroyed noise orgy. Gone are the blatant sexual images and perverted derivations blared in uncomfortable excess. Instead, TLASILA brings us four tracks that read like a book of grotesque musical wanderings scripted from a group of crazed soothsayers, forecasting an infinite spiral of despair and degradation. I think I even heard an actual guitar chord in there. Smiths vocal approach has also shifted, focusing more this time on clarity and range, rather than intense-as-possible screams of vein-bulging depravity. Joining him are long-time friends and contributors Rat Bastard, Ben Walcott, Don Fleming, Chris Grier, Mark Morgan, Thurston Moore, and even Andrew W.K. on drums. This isnt a causal listen. You need a pair of headphones and a solid hour of your time to properly digest the meticulously edited escapades of gurgling depth and disgust. There are moments of utter brilliance that shine through the sludge (see the crescendos in Tracks 1 (~12:30 in) and Track 4), but it definitely takes a while for the first three tracks to get to the climax, rumbling slowly along in mechanical drama. I prefer the tight-packed sensory overload approach of old, but I can respect what the boys are doing here, especially with the amount of time and effort they still put into the recording and editing. Its a big one to suck on, thats for sure, but dont be frightened to swallow.