There appears to be a quite mysterious aura surrounding the existence of PC Worship. The band itself has left a trail of albums and EPs, within just a small margin of time, navigating through the seas of alternative music. It is a really difficult task to give a description of PC Worship's music. On one hand it contains a lot of elements of alternative rock, noise rock and psychedelic tendencies, but there is such a strong sense of improvisation within their records, that gives the music a more jamming quality, seamlessly fearless in its investigations.
Basement Hysteria is the latest addition to the rapidly growing discography that PC Worship is developing. Again the band explores the spaces between alternative rock and improvised fluidity with their latest endeavour, with the title of the album referring to the physical space where the band records under the influence of sleep-deprived hysteria (sic). Now, let this sink in for a moment. PC Worship basically lock themselves up in a basement spending hours jamming, trying in the process to break from the traditional songwriting process, employing mutating attributes of genres as diverse as alternative rock, eastern music, sludge and noise into one coherent result. Needless to say that this EP was recorded live, with minimal overdubs. Would not have expected anything less from these guys.
In Basement Hysteria things start out quite gently, but in a bizarre fashion. The piano at the start of “Done” along the sax in the background are welcoming you to this crazed feast, while on top of all that some spoken word parts are constantly chattering as guitar parts randomly appear and then dissolve. Everything somehow manages to come together, creating in the process a wondrous mess, as if parts of a pile of unwanted toys is being put together by PC Worship. Nevertheless, there is still a more straightforward side to the band, and that comes into view when the opening track takes on a more structured form, breaking away from the abstract. The melodies and the guitar lines of the track have a strong connection with the alternative rock scene of the late '80s, but you know… weirder. “Social Friction” also finds PC Worship somewhere between the alternative rock spirit and the noise rock nature of the band, as the razor-sharp sounds begin to manifest into the foundations of the music. The bizarre personification is only complete when the saxophone rushes in, complimenting perfectly the drunken vibe of the track.
Beneath the rock oriented structure of the tracks lies the more unfriendly side of PC Worship. Noise is a big part of the band's sound. In “Done” it is able to construct a towering background, which combined with the overflowing distortion of the guitars and the fuzz of the bass is slowly but steadily reducing the track to ashes. In the more ambitious “My Lens” the noise input is probably in the side of normality when it comes to the elements that appear in the track. The effects especially aid this endeavour, with sonic chirps being produced travelling from low to high frequencies, acting like slight drops of acid, injected straight into your brain. The title track also takes on the more abrupt form, as the guitars shift towards uncharted territories, slowly losing all of their characteristics, finally being reduced to mere noise in what seems to be an excruciating process that comes into realization with tremendous ease.
Still within the music of PC Worship there are also a couple of interesting twists. The psychedelic quality of the band does surface in a few occasions, as is the case with “My Lens”, despite the more punk-ish vibe. The repetitive patterns are mesmerizing, while the noise influences combined with the bluesy lead enhances the trippy state of the track, as do the vocals with their otherworldly appearance. The title track seems to also be drenched in this lysergic quality, with the hypnotizing tones and monotonous patterns unfolding, making it impossible to escape the trance of PC Worship. However, when a more direct approach is required a much heavier personification is brought forth. The punk background gives way to the sludge dirt of Basement Hysteria. Especially in “My Lens,” the longest track of the album, the weight that the guitars are able to conjure is simply stunning. The vocals take on a more retro form, retreating to the background, giving room for the guitars to give the track a colossal form filled with a punishing rage, as each drum hit comes down with more power and brings more anguish.
But no matter how heavy are the sludge-oid parts, or how furious the punk outbreaks appear to or how trippy the psychedelic soundscapes, PC Worship would not stand out if it was not for their bizarre jam approach. Some of the parts are straight out crazy, like the crescendo in “My Lens” featuring operating vocals and high dissonance, or the complete loss of self that the title track brings with its unbalanced psychedelic core in display as percussion and guitars appear to be in different dimensions. Not just the manner of playing, but the way that they fit into the music is just so unorthodox, as if while the band is jamming, the guitars are jamming on their own. This is the mindfuck aspect of PC Worship.
Basement Hysteria is yet another chapter into the schizoid route that PC Worship follows. It is an intriguing listen because the improv identity of PC Worship manages to contain information from an array of different genres, and keep them interesting and fresh through this EP.
7.5 / 10
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