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MXLX – Godpeasant (Kindarad)

Personally, there isn’t a more exciting feeling than finding out that MXLX has a new album out. Then the trepidation in trying to guess what music Matt Loveridge has created. Is it some demented gabba, or perhaps seething metal, or maybe some mournful piano bangers? Usually it’s somewhere in between. Pressing play for the first time is an exhilarating experience. I experienced it all over again with the release of his latest album Godpeasant.

The first thing you notice about Godpeasant is how well crafted the songs are. Each track takes its time to get to its point then absolutely hammers it home before winding it down and starting on the next one. ‘Transgression’ opens with an explosion of garbled drones and static. This fades away and we’re left with something quieter and more subtle. Through this a rising melody appears. Then another, sounding like a church organ at the end of the world. Dainty piano/keyboards are underpinned by huge percussion. It’s in this transition that you really get an idea of what Godpeasant is about. It tells us, yes there will be soul crushing devastation but also moments of tender beauty. It’s magnificent in its scope and ambition.

Leper’ has more bite to it. Moody electro basslines, pulsating beats and shimmering melodies that make their presence known before vanishing as quickly as they arrived. This is exactly what I wanted from electroclash but none of the acts were brave enough to go all the way. Over this Loveridge sings/barks indecipherable lyrics about alienation. I think. It’s hard to tell. What isn’t hard to tell is how great it sounds. This coming at you from a decent sound system in a sweaty venue feels like heaven.

The outro to ‘Pain’ is possibly one of the greatest things Loveridge has ever done. It totals about four-minutes of sombre synths/keyboards and really nails what the song is about. Before that there are six, or seven, minutes of abject brutality. Shouted vocals, harsh beats, and an unrelenting feeling of suffering and, well, pain. It’s a glorious, and fitting, way to end the album. It’s meditative and makes you think of all the people you’ve hurt and have hurt you. As with all the best MXLX music the conclusion is vague. You have work it out for yourself, but it’s  incredibly moving.

As usual Loveridge has made an unrelenting album. Filled with choppy beats, majestic synths and an overriding feeling that it could all collapse at any moment. This is a problem with music made by people who have massive ideas. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work. Luckily, this isn’t the case here. Instead Godpeasant is one of the strongest albums MXLX, or whatever Loveridge calls himself, has released. That is really saying something as ‘Serpent,’ ‘Kicking Away at the Decrepit Walls til the Beautiful Sunshine Blisters Thru the Cracks,’ ‘Troubleds’ and ‘Go Away’, not to mention Fairhorn’s ‘Fuckup Rush’ and Knife Liibrary’s ‘Drowners’ are some of the finest albums ever made. It’s both an album and a time capsule rolled into one.

It tells the continued story of THE CROATOA INSTITUE, whatever that really means, and it shows where MXLX is, at this point in time. It’s a more electronic album, but also it feels quite punk. Not in its sound, but in its attitude. If this is your first exposure to MXLX and Loveridge’s work, I’m jealous as you have it all to go through. If you are an old head, how bloody great is this? Either way this is an album to revel in. To celebrate its abrasions and wallow in its degradation. There are also wonderful melodies to rejoice, along with a deep-seated feeling that things will get better. All is not lost. The end is not in sight. Not by a long shot.

Sadly, the album does have to end, but this is why stereos have repeat buttons. As Loveridge wrote on the sleeve notes: “All this honk’d out in trepidations limbo once again captured by the hands what bite down on Croatoa but all cap’d by this sonix dim idiot MXLX in 2022 as an archival artefact/amulet of what happens on the air and on the stage when its permitted.

This is very much permitted.

 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.