A nail-bomb of grief explodes in this second album by US musician Katie Gately, trauma seeming to rip open its edges. It was written while her mother was dying from a rare form of cancer; the title suggests this horror looming into her life, but also somewhere she can thread it together and tie it down.

It is a stupendously big and loud record. On Allay, multitracked Holly Herndon-ish vocals wrap around a commanding lead line from Gately. “I am living in a womb made of dirt and dust,” she sings as boulders seem to splinter around her, the kind of percussion used in trailers for Marvel movies. The 10-minute centerpiece, Bracer, is more massive still. Majestic drum rolls, as if heralding the arrival of a satanic princess, slowly turn into an insistent beat that is thrillingly syncopated into something dancehall-adjacent; its final 80 seconds is a coronal mass-ejection of white-hot sound. The album features samples of earthquakes, shovels, shredders and screaming peacocks – an industrial-era Bosch painting turned into music.

This nightmare is expertly arranged throughout, though in the second half the maximalism starts to feel like a means of papering over weak songwriting: the melodies on Tower are both undercooked and fussily overwrought, while the ones on Flow feel like an afterthought. The ambient bookends, Ritual and Rest, distinguish themselves with a subtle buzz of metallic sound haunting the bedrock of the mix but aren’t enormously arresting.

Gately is at her best and most distinctive when fleshing her ideas out into those big, ambitious song forms, another of which is Waltz. Ironically deploying the cutesy politesse of 3/4 time to demonstrate corrupted innocence is nothing new – think of any Tim Burton movie – but Gately’s version of this technique is skin-crawling in its malevolent heft. If you’re an evil confectioner whose sweet shop is hollowed out of a cursed oak tree, this is what you want to pipe out of your PA system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Israel orders 14-day quarantine for travelers coming into the country

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will require anyone arriving from overseas to self-quarantine for 14 days as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. Israel has already taken some tough measures to prevent a…

Beards evolved so men could take punches to the head, study finds

A new Swiss study found 39 percent of beard samples contained harmful bacteria compared to 13 percent of dog fur samples. Men sporting big bountiful beards might have a reason to feel more confident — and not just because women might be more…

Indian police file complaint against LG Chem after deadly gas leak

CHENNAI, India (Reuters) – Indian police have filed a complaint against an LG Chem subsidiary over a toxic gas leak at its chemical plant in the south of the country that killed 11 people and sickened almost a thousand more.…

Breakdown of deaths and infections from COVID-19 coronavirus

As the number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases and deaths continues to cause concern, here is a look at the latest official figures. Coronavirus cases and deaths: country-by-country breakdown Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control China 77,658 cases (2,663…