Get the wires & pliers dear...
The latest album from Wordblender opens with that deep, plaintive request. Better get the seatbelt and headphones too.
After a four-year hiatus since their last studio album, RJ May & Pnapper have returned. At long last. Musically, lyrically, and sonically “Anatomy” is a great stride forward for the unique music/spoken word collective who have been re-defining the genre since their inception in 2001.
Pnapper pulls out all the stops musically on this, their fifth disc. The sounds swerve, meld, and flow from alternative to funk to metal to jazz to country(!?) to a Latin rhumba to calliope music. Sometimes it seems all within one song! There is still the signature Wordblender sound, certainly, but a times I also detect a Mr. Bungle-like frenetic quality, at other times an ethereal Floydian beauty. This is MOST INTERESTING stuff. They’ve also gathered some great musicians to jump with them, once more, into the breach. I’m most pleased that Pnapper brought the horns again for this disc – along with himself, the horn assault of John Ransom, Jeff Miller, Steven Scalfati, Andy Sodt, and Karl Benitez bring their A-game. Wall-of-Sound Horns, baby. And Guitar-wise they’ve been joined by two consummate Seattle mainstays for a couple tunes: Dudley Taft (of Omnivoid) and Thaddeus Turner (of Maktub). Delicious.
RJ May continues to develop and grow as a writer. I was going to say he’s aging well like a fine wine, but after repeated listenings perhaps it’s a better metaphor to say he’s grown bigger and blacker. Somewhat like a cancer. That being said, it’s not all bleakness and melancholy – not by a long shot. Even in the dark places May fights back the abyss with biting humor and the turn of an unexpected word.
At the moment a few of my favorite cuts are “Fat Roll”, “Operating on the Knee”, “Autopsy of a Liver”, “Black Circles Under The Eyes”, “Telescope with a Split Lens”, and “Womb”. I also particularly like the schizophrenic mad-masterpiece “Carry Stress In The Jaw” - although it’s somewhat painful at times, I absolutely the love ending – brings to mind some kind of crazy, drug-addled Satanic Vegas floor show, like something out of “A Rocky Horror Picture Show” or “Young Frankenstein”, or perhaps even “A Clockwork Orange”. Amazing.
Five stars. They’ve produced their finest work to date. Headphone-worthy.