Prurient – And Still, Wanting

And Still, Wanting

It’s only been about two years since the last Prurient full-length, the brutal and gorgeous Pleasure Ground. In that time, Prurient’s lone member, Dominick Fernow launched his Hospital Productions record store while continuing to churn out plenty of limited edition releases on vinyl, tape and CD. And Still, Wanting is the “official” follow-up to Pleasure Ground and if you thought that Fernow was burning the candle at both ends and it was sure to eventually effect the quality of his work, nothing could be further from the truth. This one should go down as the defining moment in the Prurient catalog to date. It’s a thoroughly refreshing take on noise with a surprising amount of melody, albeit submerged beneath an extra thick layer of swirling, psychedelic static blast.

“Memory Repeating” begins the record with a burst of noise even Masami Akita would be proud to call his own. Then Fernow begins his monologue with “I woke today…not to trains…but to the mowing of a lawn…I woke up not to you…but only me alone.” His voice is a plaintive monotone but run through various effects to produce a most disorienting effect. It constantly keeps the listener guessing as to whether what’s being heard is a modified vocal or the grinding of some machine. “Returning Truth” is a brutal teeth clenching exercise in extreme noise but underneath the layer of static is a subterranean level of warped melody. Once again the vocals are far more interesting than your average fair for this type of music. Much like Hair Police’s Blind Kingdom LP from last year, Fernow takes the idea of voice manipulation and runs with it. His usual barked delivery is transformed through flanging and phasing. These are indeed the offspring of Throbbing Gristle’s original industrial psychedelia.

“Lust End” allows for even more submerged melodies. Fernow is presenting an alternate reality version of Tim Hecker’s work here where the noise-to-melody ratio is turned on its head. There are so many “what-the-fuck” moments in this song alone, where he’s doing things that other modern noise groups just haven’t either had the guts or good sense to try yet. Piercing high end frequencies lash at your ears, but Fernow’s vocals are aiming for the heart. This is one of the most engaging and emotionally charged takes on noise that I’ve come across. It does so without ever running the risk of seeming contrived or syrupy. It all ties into the running theme of loneliness and alienation. And Still, Wanting is a love song to the noise community. By the time it reaches its end with ten minute closer, “Incense and Rubber,” you’ll be ready to start it over from the beginning.

It’s an all-inclusive package depicting Dominick Fernow’s state-of-mind around the time of its recording. The lyrics are mostly appropriated from anonymous sources according to the insert. The artwork is a series of photographs seemingly of Niagara Falls from various vantage points. Last, but certainly not least, is the inclusion of a 5″ vinyl single housed in the same package with two tracks, “Shield (Prologue)” and “Shield (Epilogue),” that serve as bookends to the album. These are only included in the initial pressing so if you want one you might want to get on that, like now. And Still, Wanting looks to be the noise record to beat in this year’s current crop. It’s the noise answer to Sebadoh’s Smash Your Head On the Punk Rock that you didn’t even know was possible. Ladies and gentlemen, this is going down as a classic.