The Mabuses blast out of the gate on Mabused with everything they’ve got. “Dark Star” gets right to the point of the song, or at least to the point where all the melodies are layered on top of each other. This up front feeling is probably what best defines the album. Most of the songs on Mabused quickly dive into themselves, getting to the bottom of the things instead of building up to things. This presents everything in the song as it is, and instead of trying to lure me into any sort of climax with a song or wind me about some yarn of captivating lyrics, The Mabuses smear a climax through three minutes and 30 seconds of song, keeping it all high energy, but that high energy is the initial state of the each, so in place of spazzing out on every new track, The Mabuses simply chill at high temperature.
The exemplar of the framework above is the album’s first track, “Dark Star.” Not only does every piece of the song crash into place three seconds in, but nearly every nuance that defines The Mabuses is in “Dark Star,” giving me everything up front. Extensive sampling, boisterous horns compounded with lyrical woodwinds and light words that might in fact say nothing at all: all of these can be found in this one song. Contrary to this is the song “June,” which jumps between different tones, one of which could be seen as heavy (at least as far as The Mabuses are concerned), one which could be seen as light, and another which could be seen as sort of creepy. It starts creepy, then heavy, then lightening the load, delivering the song in segments completely disconnected. By the end of the song, the three tones seem to connect, or at the very least, blend, giving us a song in pieces that gradually come together rather than crash.
One extremely noticeable effect of Mabused that I only comprehend now that I have tried to string together some thoughts while listening to it is the incredibly distracting presence of the climax as it smears across three minutes and consequently all over my brain. Any line of logic breaks at the synapse and is dissolved into the music that plays in all of the tiny little echo chambers between neurons, thoughts playing in pitch of a synaptic cleft. If any reason can salvage itself from this tiny gap, any continuity will be lost in the gorge, forever bouncing off lost echoes of ideas from far too long ago, resurrecting the forgotten logic that just disrupts things like zombies.
Olivia Tremor Control – Dusk At Cubist Castle
XTC – Apple Venus Vol. 1
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs