The Legendary Pink Dots – The Gethsemane Option
Released: June 25th, 2013
Label: Metropolis Records
Edward Ka-Spel of The Legendary Pink Dots has finally managed to out-creep himself with the release of The Gethsemane Option. Over the years, LPD have made themselves notorious for their avant-garde (and sometimes, just plain whack) styles of sound and aesthetic. Ka-Spel, Phil Knight, Raymond Steeg, and Erik Drost have put together a very strong and cohesive work of art this time with The Gethsemane Option.
As the album’s title suggests, this is another statement about religion, psychology, and their dysfunctional relationship; something The Legendary Pink Dots have always loved to push. The melodies are as haunting as ever as The Gethsemane Option opens with “A Star Is Born“. The song is an eerie concoction of cello-esque keyboards, and the spoken word vocals of Ka-Spel at the bpm rate of a flat line. Doesn’t sound interesting? Somehow it is. The first few tracks, although minimalist, pack a surprising amount of climax without any sort of aggression.
I must say that there were moments when I was not so certain that I wasn’t listening to Gary Numan’s Jagged. Songs like “Esher Everywhere” and “A Stretch in Time” create such a darkly rich atmosphere, that I found myself staring at the wall; which is a good thing. The fifth track “Pendulum“, however, is basically Ka-Spel’s version of a coffeehouse poetry night. I’m still not sure how I feel about that one, but I will say that it’s as boring as it is pretentious.
After recovering from “Pendulum“, The Gethsemane Option really regains its atmosphere, but the last few songs sound more reminiscent of old Skinny Puppy and a little bit of The Tear Garden (not shocking). There is enough musical variation within the album to stay tuned for more; and I usually have a little trouble with paying attention to experimental. LPD’s signature creepy and unsettling aura is ever apparent here and I hope they continue to make 40 more albums of this weird shit. I’ll take any excuse to walk around barefoot wearing scarves and sunglasses.
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Thanks for a great review. Genius band. Will buy right now!
Sometimes I wish that people would review new music in a more detailed and organized way rather than after a first listen. There are and have always been themes running through the music of the Legendary Pink Dots yet they are never explored…instead painted over with terms like “weird” and “dark” or “Strange”…etc… There is something in this recording that I cannot yet put my finger on. It may take many more listens before I actually digest what is happening here but I will enjoy each one of them as it leads to further inquiry and contemplation. Gethsemane itself as a reference point would yield a review much deeper than what was offered here as it can refer to multiple ideas from the Gospel of Matthew and Mark, the Gospel of John…the betrayal of Christ by Judas or simply as a reference to Olives. To me, there is an underlying theme of betrayal here, be it by our own governments or on multiple personal levels where we are all on ten waiting to turn someone in as a “terrorist” for one reason or another. Betrayal by the religious leaders that we are taught not to question… even perhaps our own Judas type behaviour towards ourselves as we sink deeper and deeper into reality tv and other distractions.. seeking money over family, popularity over substance and ego driven self interest over compassion.