Puce Mary – The Drought LP Pan 2019
Already three years since the release of the excellent album The Spiral (reviewed here), Frederikke Hoffmeier’s new Puce Mary album has finally been released. Although technically speaking the digital version of the album was available in October, 2018, the physical vinyl version was plagued by delays and was not released until April, 2019. While not being entirely clear as the to the reason for the delay, it has been absolutely worth the wait to have this on vinyl.
In building upon the template of the last album, The Drought is another standout and a joy to behold the meticulously way in which Frederikke approaches noise as a compositional element to generate building tension. Each track is distinct in stylistic character, where sound elements are constructed for maximum impact, including sustained noise which becomes to resemble shrill orchestral strings, while grinding bass loops and abstracted monolithic thuds provide vague rhythmic structures. Compositions are carefully layered to ratchet up tension, such as is expertly displayed on A Feast Before The Drought which runs a knife’s edge through to an explosive crescendo. To Possess Is To Be In Control charts slightly new territory by commencing with an almost modern classical tone and confessional spoken vocals, but soon enough the sound veers off into a tensile high calibre industrial track. A similar nod to an experimental modern classical tone extends through the middle and back half of the album, covering tracks such as Red Desert, Coagulate, The Size of Our Desire and The Transformation, where synth elements given the impression of shrill orchestral strings. But even with these shrilly melodious semi-orchestral moments, the compositions do not forgo scattered micro-tonal noise and pummelling industrial elements. Likewise, the mid paced throb and sweeping distortion of Fragments Of A Lily has an undeniable fist pumping quality, and the album concludes with Slouching Uphill, another expertly executed track of elevating tension and subsequent emotive release.
As an artist Frederikke Hoffmeier displays absolute mastery of her craft, and in the process has developed a sound which is immediately recognizable and wholly her own. Building on what has come before, but also pushing her sound yet further into uncharted territory makes for another stunning and absolutely mandatory album.