Tag Archives: Impressions

Review: The Light Is The Darkness by Laird Barron (Arcane Wisdom; 2012)

22 Oct


Hurling middle-aged weaponry to shatter bamboo. A lost sister, preparing for the search.

Deja vu in the backseat of the parents’ car with a hallucinated old man in a space suit claiming that “time is a ring.” Eating people in occult rituals. Chainsmoking in front of a sink towering with dirty dishes and broken wine glasses: images of Imogene. Faded postcards. Dialogue from hardened, cold-war dime novels. Tough guy brief. Tears that always dry to fast… ever to see.

There is a manly lushness to Barron’s writing that sometimes reminded me Robert E. Howard’s Conan tales (the boar feast in this book comes to mind).

Vicious, testicle-grabbing Finn gladiators throwing local toughs through windows.

Ghostly figures in the backgrounds of photos. Messages from unseen forces needing to be unscrambled. Surreal images (like red infants, squealing hogs, and crocodiles spinning underwater while chewing deer) as Conrad(a gladiator) gets beaten by the aforementioned, testicle-grabbing Finn.

Men with antlers staring out of glossy photos found in a crawlspace.

Phantasmal woman shapes hover above a bed after the trigger word is uttered and all the meaning in the world begins to truncate and collapse.

Sundews crying and cloying for nourishment in a hive-like apartment as the room wobbles and shrinks. Fiendish cults. Rumors that split apart and burn clandestine images, drowning the surface while marbling the emulsion.

Car-door chewers, gun-shot wound absorbers. This novel has some horror and some post-apocalyptic sci. fi elements as well. DNA mutation/optimization?

Inhuman faces hidden at the dark epicenter’s vanishing point beneath the cowls. Battling brutes with ghoulish superpowers in a dank and abandoned family home.

Barron is a strange and original writer indeed. At times I found myself wondering to what sort of genre this book should belong. Sci. fi? Horror? It became increasingly unclear and ceased to matter. Barron has an obvious love for the pulps but is a far more accomplished, Cormac McCarthian wordsmith than most other horror writers.

I haven’t read Barron’ short story collections (though I hope to do so soon), but I would place him in the ranks of writers like that to genre-bend pulpy tropes into unique/original fiction like Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, China Mieville, David Mitchell, and Haruki Murakami.

Devilish hallucinations (or visitations) for our genetically mutated superhero Conrad by his immortal (or dead) bat-like sister’s beyond-the-grave or beyond-human-shape form.

The title takes on a definite irony by the novel’s end. Barron’s style is quite unique, conjuring superhero comics with gothic and surreal painterly effects. I look forward to reading his short story collection trilogy.

Check out The Light Is The Darkness here.

MGMT – S/T (Columbia; 2013)

20 Sep


Impressions Impressions First Impressions Always to Make You Bluish:

1. A lone kid’s voice hovers in some psychedelic oasis or tangerine dream of a wonderland just before the alien spacecraft is commandeered and its glammed-out pilot decides IT’S A FINE TIME TO DIE.

2. Whip that finger around, shall we? No, we simply SHANT! Downer, boogie keyboards. Ever want to shake uglies with a haunted house of endless fear?

3. Badasssss drums make the sound go shake in the autumn of a breathing being (wide as a trampoline but 43x as evil) beneath a pile of leaves. Bees are growing angry and the wasps are sick of being preserved in cubes of antifreeze; it’s time they had their way…before the scarecrow nods and the hatchet falls.

4. Almost as if the nails were rising by themselves from the structure housing the ladybug, large as a watermelon, who has been controlling us of late; she shivers because of the slivers, but she has her appetites…and that is what is wading…left far behind, down in the murk of a drumbeat trapped inside a synthesizer.

5. Having not listened to the album whatsoever before this instant (other than a terribly shoddy phone recording of “Alien Days”), I feel a bit alarmed at reaching this track (“Your Life is A Lie”) as this is (and I’m probably (hopefully) mistaken) the debut single. Could be what the gentlemen with the wandering wig at the local record store used to call “a grower.” Yeah, but the second Stone Roses album NEVER GREW.

6. Then, as entangle with a snake yet again, the sand pit relaxes and massages us…giving us our chocolate figurines of glam boys and gals with glowing green goo just boiling right up and over their tongues and hanging and swayin’ from their chins.

7. Okay. Boo. Yes. This one is definitely grooven’. Lost in the mix. He. Him. You don’t want to be found? I had trouble sleeping last night too (I did (honestly) and this could be tainting my entire perception of the album, so please virtually rip this synthetic and abstracted page into cyber-chip-projected pieces to blow away in the wilds and prairies of the internet deserts).

8. Very Nico. Ah, and now we’re encountering basically the only contemporary band capable of producing both smash hits and utterly off-the-wall experimentation (oh yes, there’s also that mastercraft of a hovering personality: Ariel Pinky; and we shant forget about him…we just shant!). Wow, and it actually evolves into quite a powerful and emotional hook. Who does this? MGMT…and nobody else would ever even dare!

9. Definitely a reference to Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And this sounds like a wacky but much catchier single than the one about lives being lies, although that one could expand and reshape itself into a more profound experience while the simplicity of this ditty could begin to splinter and divide an evil influence in a storm of gangrenous amongst the toes and toads.

10. It bangs some severe hammers as the ghosts escape, but how I miss steel drums and tragic island tales amidst congratulatory slaps on the back, roses in hand and switchblades visible beneath the belts.

So, in the end, did I “like” it? Ummmmm…Ok!!!!!!! WAY TOO BORED by that question. Bye.