“I’ve got a sneaky feeling I’m really going to like this record,” I tell myself upon receipt of it. The initial listen is affronting & abrasive, but it has some glints of melody embedded in it, so I’m unperturbed. This is what passes for lo-fi nowadays, but it isn’t so much Lo-Fi as Unpalatable Mastering. Not as catchy, I know. Either way, scuzzed-up sound is no problem whatsoever for someone who grew-up listening to ansaphone recorded records. I in fact love sub-demo home recordings (in some cases better than the studio albums they later became) for the palpable, lint-covered world it evokes — your mind filling in the blanks with the warm nostalgia of your own excursions into sound recording as a kid. But beneath the hiss and diaphragm-rattling there has to be a heart — something worth plowing through the shit for. Burrowing through this particular pile of equine shit, despite all its erratic kaleidoscopicity, it just is what it is, which is not entirely bad… not entirely.
The record has its moments, sparse though they may be. Judging by his Tumblr and general aesthetic, Matt Whitehurst (or ‘Horseshit’) has a penchant for illicit substances, which is about the best analogy I can think of to employ when attempting to describe the experience of listening to this record. Depending on your outlook that may be a good or bad thing, and probably the line that will separate fans of this record from its detractors. It comes on suddenly, and is immediately disorienting, though one is likely to gradually acclimatize to its own set of strange, disconcerting but refreshingly ulterior rules. But the comedown and resultant evaluation of the validity of the experience invariably leads to the conclusion it was an interesting, but pretty grotty, ultimately hollow affair. The title track seems to borrow it’s opening flurry from “St Elmo’s Fire” from Brian Eno’s Another Green World. Possibly not such a good idea to put your listeners in mind of such seminal work when bashing out a hodge-podge cacophony such as this. In fact it’s difficult to imagine what pleasures anyone familiar with Eno’s seminal albums would expect to be rewarded with beneath Laced‘s seemingly arbitrarily applied, hazy layers. Oblique strategizing this ain’t. Matt Whitehurst doesn’t come across as the meticulous and discerning internalizer, rather as the haphazard architect of his own willfully obtuse Hipster Schizopolis.
There’s a camp that argues art should be appraised on its own merits, separate from it’s author, but when Psychedelic Horseshit’s previous achievements are obscured by using the momentum they made from their early recognition for badmouthing their contemporaries, they’re inviting a more painstaking scrutiny of their own work, especially when Laced seems to fail to put the whole tawdry affair to bed by having songs such as “Tropical Vision” and “I Hate the Beach” seemingly reiterating a distaste for Wavves. The record isn’t a catastrophe, it’s just that its fleeting instances of interest are few and far between. Psychedelic Horseshit don’t seem to have any more going for them than a hundred similar sounding bands on Bandcamp, and are certainly no more deserving of your money.
As the late, great, Captain Beefheart once said: “It’s not worth getting into the bullshit to find out what the bull ate”.
Meth Teeth – Everything Went Wrong
Silver Jews – The Arizona Record
Wavves – Wavvves
Stream: Psychedelic Horseshit – Laced