Knife and Fork 

Miserycord

This fiendish conspiracy between Ovarian Trolley and Hallflowers singer Laurie Hall and multi-instrumentalist Eric Drew Feldman (who has collaborated with Captain Beefheart, the Residents, the Pixies, and PJ Harvey) is pretty damned easy on the ears, but it probably isn't very good for your brain. Hall's hypnotic siren song can only have a narcotic effect, lulling you into a dream state while Feldman's slow, bass-heavy sonic mix pummels what's left of your psyche into paste like a brawny masseur. It may be musical bliss while it lasts, but don't come running to us if it turns you into a Zombie Army of the Damned, or at least of the Darned.

"Winter" is quite possibly the most benevolent use to which Renaissance-style percussion has been employed in the Bay Area in quite some time, nearly but not quite overwhelmed by a rising tide of atmospheric strings, guitar, bass, keys, and lord-only-knows-what-else, all swept up like a whirlwind by Hall's commanding voice gorgeously marveling, Is this real? Is this really happening? "Wild" sets the tinny megaphone distortion of several cloned Hall harmonies against sludge-slow, vaguely tribal beats and the fuzzy throb of nearly subsonic bass. "Dream Sweet" is very much in the Portishead vein, with multitracked moans caressed by gently lapping waves of pulsing rhythm punctuated by muted trumpet bleats. Overall, a wintry, funereal air blows through this album's nine tracks, whether churning or chilling. But there's nothing chilly about Hall's soulful warbling, which makes the most dirgelike number feel like the sweetest lullaby.

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