Family Curse, “Julia Armant” b/w “Last Days”
It’s a damn fine thing to make an acquaintance on the internet, let alone to start lobbing him your dollars. That’s been the case with myself and Erick Bradshaw - he of and Golden Error and the hyper-obscuro, fetching Tokyo Storm Warning (hear here! And then pay!) Wait, why am I talking about this? Let’s stipulate that our exchanges have been more than fair, and I don’t think the rest of it is any of your business, thanks.
The standalone vocalist - I assume he doesn’t sit during gigs - usually either towers, looms and dominates or comes off like an historical re-enactor, a guitar player playing bass or, ha ha, as a keyboardist standing up and “rocking out.” Erick seems so comfortable in this seemingly uncomfortable pose that it almost doesn’t seem like any kind of posture at all. Like Johnny Bench in a crouch that’d be like spiked mallets on our aging backs, the man does his best work from a place the rest of us’d call a discomfort. He does it with attentive lyrics that are carefully delivered without being afforded any place of privilege in the mix. (Whether or not you dig hearing his lyrics washed over, only to re-emerge against the band’s undulations, probably has to do with your proximity to and familiarity with certain brands of poink roque. Relax, it’s not a referendum on your character.)
Having heard this 7” once, I’m preeeety comfortable going on for a long time about it. I chose the B-side - wait is this a double A-side single? - because I thought it had the balls to break the Fall wall. Both numbers start out rather bass-driven, and side A stays that way as Ken Edge’s guitar cannot help but offer melodious bleep-bip-boop sentences as a counterpoint (or ceremonial garland) entangled with prominent bass riffs from Jordan Error. In default mode Bradshaw still sounds like he’s flirting with more of a Circus Lupus/Monorchid mode, unaffected and astonishingly not exactly agitated. This has something to do with the irony/earnestness ratio in the lyrics and something to do with temerament, I’m sure, but I hope it isn’t ever lost or given over to genre convention. It’s not an abdication of cock-punk authority, it’s a means of letting the band do its work, and of letting that work matter. Similarly, words and the basic sonics of a human voice get elevated this way. Much as we all love Mark E. Smits (i.e., Jimmy Smits’ bro who sings for The Fall), to follow his and his indentured bands’ examples would be to… sound like a band from Brooklyn. And nobody wants that.
Thank Christ this ain’t that. With the exception of an awkward moment or two where it seems like a tumble down the slippery slope into a Manchester accent and Hip Priest-isms is in the offing, we can safely assume this 7” is an auspicious first step towards the gun cabinet of Pigfucked by Death, Killed by Good Taste grandeur. Family Curse will shoot us and/or rock us and themselves with a dexterity, a fluency and a sense of using the right tools for the job. That should reassure us as we die and/or whip skins in the pit with our monstrous chains.