Purest Spiritual Pigs – Body Misses

Purest Spiritual Pigs - Body Misses

Purest Spiritual Pigs is a collaborative multimedia project from artist Helena Thompson (formerly of band Her Majesty The Baby) and the collective’s most recent release is Body Misses which includes 6 new tracks as well as 5 tunes off a previous EP.  The album is self-released on Clandestine Works Records and is also being distributed by Shinto Records.

Helena has assembled just over a half-dozen guest artists on Body Misses: Lenny Gonzalez as co-writer of “Unsteady” and “You Inspire Me” and guitarist and synth-player on other songs, Susan Clausen as co-writer of “For People Not On Phones”, Umberto Crenca as cover artist and vocalist on “For People Not On Phones”, Dorothy Wang, who recorded and mixed the album, as well as violinist on “Three Thieves Gone” and guitarist and bassist on “Shenti”, Cody Bourdot as bassist on “Unsteady”, Natasha Hassett as bassist on “You Inspire Me”, and N. G. Yrizarry as vocalist on “Shenti”.

On the whole these songs are rough and dissonant with pointed lyrics, but the sharp edges of noise are molded enough into the accepted verse and chorus format and run on repetitive loops that carve out a discernable sonic path.  Helena’s vocals, while not dewy and delicate, are not harsh and grating either, falling in a mid-range, doleful tone that suits the foreboding nature of the industrial, instrumentally-minimalistic music.

The album starts off with the continual low-burn of fiery loops and steady, tick-tock beat of “Unsteady” as a subdued Helena draws out her vocals on the verses, then takes on a menacing tone on the chorus as she intones balefully “I hold the door / I watch you move / unsteady through…”  Her vocals are doubled on certain segments and augmented by grinding guitar as she sing-talks sinisterly “Something’s wrong at the core…”

There are some wicked lyrics twists on the songs, like “You Inspire Me” where Helena pulls a bait-and-switch by the end, as she pushes out the words “You inspire me / and make me wanna be *not* you.”  Slow, sustained violin pulls loom in and out of the sonorous, but sorrowful “Three Thieves Gone”.  There is a shift in the tempo during the song where the trudging pace quickens as metallic clinks echo against Helena sing-talking lyrics of “…arms ache / holding the body that breaks / when it’s held.”, that conjure up the album’s cover art.

The bleak mood is lightened on “M.J.R.” which goes for a softer tone of strummed acoustic guitar, piano notes, and different layers of vocals.  “Remains” has an early Cocteau Twins feel with minimal beats and percussion and wiry, chiming guitar reverb.  Helena’s vocals are tamped down in the range of Courtney Love instead of Liz Fraser and there is a brief break at the two-minute mark where a more forceful beat and crashing metal sound take over amid Helena’s distressed exclamations.  A Nine Inch Nails-like grind and burn shoots through “Picking Myself Up”, where Helena’s vocals are distorted as she sing-talks “My inspiration is out to lunch with my ambition.”