Beautiful Death Machine
(Drunken Stupor Records)
From the mad child of Marcin Lasinski:
Listeners eagerly clutching their swollen members expecting the usual doodles of a pre-pubescent delinquent on the album cover – of wizards and skulls, gas masks and battle axes – were instead greeted by a composition so balanced, so refined, so indefinably sublime, that it made an obvious choice for Far Shores’ inaugural post.
Distant mountains, ominous storm clouds and dramatic lightning bolts in the image’s ground set the tone; a suspiciously well-maintained single-lane road looms up from the horizon line to fill the lower portion of the image; and front and centre, we are confronted by the brute masculinity of a muscle car’s grille speeding towards us, a Viking-helmeted skull as its hood ornament leading the charge in front of a hood-splitting supercharger, an inexplicably shuttered windshield and, of course, a gattling gun and missile launcher perched out of the car’s passenger side window. The band’s name scrawled with an artistically calligraphic flourish in the top left corner of the album verges on garishness, but is pulled back to Taste with a sensible Stencil font for the album’s title, “Beautiful Death Machine.” And, finally, the gestalt is completed with a Parental Advisory stamp in the lower right corner.
Canadian album art designers out there - give up. Just stop. It doesn’t get better than this.
Ideas :: Don’t You Think It’s Time We Went A Bit Further?
In life, we all experience a crowning moment that becomes cemented in our psyche; where time freezes and a stimulus fragment somehow remains eternally lucid despite the mounting devastation of unrealized dreams, physiological decay, and the betrayals of our closest friends; a moment where, without having a proper understanding of how or why, we are forced to re-evaluate the entirety of our own being. The death of Princess Dianna. The attack on the 2 towers. Losing our virginity. For me, as strange as it will sound, it was the spring of 2000: the Y2K scare had finally subsided in Toronto, the Maple Leafs were on par for their first 100 point season in franchise history, and my 18-year old, bleached-tipped sexual earnestness was about to inflict itself to the Center of the Universe just as the pinnacle of Canadian pop-craft was skyrocketing to the top of the charts.
Anyone old enough to have had a functioning libido at the time will read these words, and, fueled by the neural-connective imperative that is memory/identity/purpose, instinctually feel a single song start building in their mind. The melody will slowly creep into their loins, warming them, reminding them of the reckless lust of teenagedom, while simultaneously eclipsing their heart with the sadness of the inevitability of aging into irrelevance. Then, overwhelmed by the paradoxical catharsis, they will be flashback-ed to a time forever lost, when Canada had its one and only collective glimpse into what it meant to actually stand for something. We never had a Revolution; we were never more than colonial lap-dog apologists, but we did have soulDecision, and they did genetically engineer an aurical wunderkind named “Faded” to try to save us from ourselves.
Anthropologists and Sociologists talk about the potential power of music to be a transcendental expression of purpose. To me, their words rang hollow; not because I disagreed, but because I couldn’t relate. I desperately wanted to understand what they meant but I felt only emptiness. And then, on that fateful spring afternoon, as I pressed my bare torso against the front window of MuchMusic on Queens West, trying to see impress Angie by being on TV, something beautiful happened. Rick the Temp had just introduced the first jam of the MuchMegaHits segment for the day and an angelic synthetic purr began to wash over me. I didn’t realise until after the fact but ‘Faded’ had reached out to me for the first time. And, with tears welling in my eyes, I happily consented. Unlike ever before, I felt like I actually belonged to something. I looked over at Rick, and he just nodded knowingly; welcoming me into the community. I will never forget it.
For all of you unlucky enough to only know the misery that is a post-soulDecision world, where all pop anthems are cursed to a club oblivion normally reserved for the likes of Sean Desmond (RIP), it isn’t too late to ask for your own forgiveness. Step away from the image-crafting rituals of Facebook. Turn off your serotonin iPavlovian ‘like-machine’. Get over your futile slacktivist anti-Fordism. Be a part of something bigger than the insecurities that keep you from meaningfully connecting to every single human-being within arms length. Let David, Ken, James and Adam be your existential self-actualization muses. All you need to do is be willing to ‘listen’ as opposed to merely ‘hear’. soulDecision can’t venture the path of musical enlightenment for you but they have lovingly paved the entire road with bricks of gentleness, acceptance, and understanding.
Hope walks alone.
Take the first step.