Miss Autopsy – Caterpillar

Miss Autopsy - Caterpillar

Miss Autopsy - Caterpillar

Caterpillar is either art rock or a mockery. I side with the latter. The band responsible, Miss Autopsy, is one Steve Beyerink. Although often described as a bothered blend of post-punk and blues, Miss Autopsy’s sound is best likened to musical performance art–the kind you might hear at a middling poetry slam.

The repetitive, distressed songs on Caterpillar feature basic verse/chorus parts that sound like they were recorded on a four track. The album contains nine such creatures, all of them meditations on some memory or feeling that Mr. Beyerink just can’t shake. The music, like Beyerink’s torment, is unnerving and insistent. But, sadly, it is also more boring than it is intense or provocative.

The brush strokes of nuance, vision, and ingenuity that may color Beyerink’s mind don’t materialize on his abrasive musical canvas. Instead we hear only soft spoken ramblings mismatched with throwaway riffs. The man has acted on his inspiration, but hasn’t communicated much to the audience. His meaning was lost in translation.

As a result, the average song on Caterpillar is impenetrable and, often, insufferable. But two tracks struggle valiantly against this quicksand pit of an album: “Dead Loner Blues” and “El Paso”. The acoustic “Dead Loner Blues” takes crude, bluesy shape to the cry-for-help lyrics: “When your hope is gone, and you have no one to turn to, you’ll know where to find me / Let’s have a little talk about the things that keep us up, and all the good things that are totally behind me … I’m scared to death of everything”. And “El Paso”, the album’s only surprise, tops that song with some real pop form that is more than just wallpaper in Beyerink’s basement of gloom. Although the music loses steam long before the song’s 6:30 run is up, the lyrics endure: “Let’s go to the beach sometime, oh / We need something beautiful, oh … When I felt such blissfulness, I knew I couldn’t trust it / When I felt so deep in love, I knew I couldn’t trust it, oh”.

Beyond that, Beyerink’s lamentations and fixations–shared more through his spoken lyrics than his disjointed riffs and chord progressions–are public masturbations: a lot better for the performer than for the unfortunate people around him. The guy should either stop and go home or reciprocate.