Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Mr Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasures – Destined for Dust review for Alternative Matter

“Destined for Dust” is the latest release from Los Angeles based Mr Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasures, and available for download on a “name your price” basis, at the time of review, from the Bandcamp site, an innovative forum for artists to get their music heard and circulated as part of a model in which the artist gains maximum recompense for their craft. “Destined for Dust” opens with “Beat Down”, a remarkable electronically fashioned repetitive motif behind some crisp vocal lines which, delivered in their distinctive deadpan style underscore the theme of desolate electronic urban landscapes which are hinted at throughout each piece on this most recent release. That said the second piece “Lonely” is a surprisingly uplifting piece with jarring, recurrent lines that weave along the song to create an atmosphere of joyfulness with just a hint of menace. The title track “Destined for Dust” builds soothingly over the duration into a bouncing electronic pattern, and, as the title suggests, creates an unsettling feeling that, although the music is quite accessible, it hints at a gloomier message within. “Detour” brings us back to the barren urban tone, and unsettles the listener with discordant lines woven back into the mix behind the distinguishing pounding electronic percussion sound and production style which hints at a world yet to be encountered. An unfamiliar wailing guitar provides the introduction to “Tracey” which, although characteristically Mr Bitterness, slows the tempo down to a more morose, contemplative speed, and is saturated in despair and questioning, a listening experience reminiscent of the early 1980’s “goth” movement in the United Kingdom. That is not to suggest that the music on “Destined for Dust” is derivative in any way, as the production gives the music relevance to a contemporary audience in many ways. “The Existential Dilemma” closes the album, again, with a strangely discordant essence which fuses together with surprisingly pleasant melodies and vocal lines to give Mr Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasure their own distinctive sound and personality. Over the six tracks that make up “Destined for Dust”, Mr Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasure carve their own distinctive sound from disparate elements that may be familiar to lovers of a variety of electronically produced music. The difference here is that they are used to create a very distinctive resonance that soundtracks a possible future for our civilisation.

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