Album Review

Pumice – “Yeahnahvienna ” – [Soft Abuse]

Jawbone   1/6/2008   A Library, CD

Sticking his neck out with a soul stripped bare intimacy, Pumice???s Stefan Neville has come up with a masterwork of profound elegance and intrigue. Since 1991, the New Zealander has been quietly releasing homemade and private cassettes and CD-R???s down under. With the 2004 American release of ???Raft??? (Last Visible Dog) he???s been on the U.S. radar. ???Yeahnahvienna??? was recorded in 2004 during an artist???s residency at Quartier 21 in (guess where) Vienna.

Stark, naked ballads on acoustic guitar are made interesting and intriguing with fuzzy distorted vocals, random percussion, harmonium-like droning organ and squeaky squealing machinery.

Fragile and fractured, Neville, at times, sounds as if he???s ready to put a gun to his head, but ???Yeahnahvienna??? is not without tons of charm, which propels it easily through the difficult moments.

The first two tracks (???Abominable??? & ???King Korny Remains???) are sans effects, and are consequently the least interesting. With the arrival of organ, percussion and distorted vocals and a marked increase in length (from 6 to 13 minutes) tracks 4, 7 & 8 (???Wild Dogs???, ???Teas Tasting Fair??? & ???Darkpark???) become entirely mesmerizing and hypnotic in their deceiving simplicity, which makes them feel half their actual length. Adding to the overall cohesiveness, the 2-minute instrumental ???Worsted??? shows up 4 different times (3, 6, 9 & 10) with altered tempos and mixes.


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