REVIEW: Lockwood – “Lockwood”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

LockwoodIf you want to blame anyone, blame Ministry. For a refresher course, quickly call up Dream Song from A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Corrosion from Psalm 69. The progeny spawned by the cathartic loins of these two darkwave daddies are their illegitimate children running amok, plainly inspired by the ideology of their twisted sires. Many of these explorative brats have yet to master the genius that makes these fatherhood fables of ominous ambience not only tolerable, but darkly exquisite.

In summation, many of what these spunky and perverse punks have to offer is utter shit. On the other hand, when treated with respect for the listener, the compulsive lunacy of an artist who shares his personal demons in such an expressionistic fashion can be, strangely enough, exhilarating. With jacket artwork that calls to mind the stylized drippiness of Mudhoney to the abrasive hedonism of the aforementioned Ministry, Britain's Lockwood has assembled a seven song, twenty-two minute spin through darkwave turmoil that is perhaps the most solid tribute to the legacy left by Ministry, more an evolution of the parental work than has been executed by most of the practitioners of this weird but curious subgenre. Frankly, Lockwood is not for all tastes, but a keen ear will oust many subversive nuances that not only separate him from his wannabe contemporaries but make his nihilistic offering a chilling guilty pleasure.

Despite his low-key production, Lockwood has mingled his art amidst the shadows that obviously curtain his heart. There is a cautious beauty to his madness, evidenced on the opening track Word of Love. A dark and operatic opus that momentarily shrieks like Meat Loaf without a conscience. Lockwood's core piano elements hold together the fractured synth tweaks and the lumbering drive that avoids the track from being complete mish-mash. Word of Love is like a Goth fuck that strokes the g-spot with a fevered but loving member.

The instrumental Seventy-Seven has a tribal beat (a Japanese drum comes to mind), a global sensibility that saves the euphoric darkwave tendencies from becoming muddled. What For? has a nice piano lead with paranoid vocals by Lockwood that, unfortunately, sounds like Geoff Tate from Queensryche on an off day. That aside, the melody is the song's saving grace, while the mood switches fairly easily between soothing and temperamental. For some reason, however, What For? sounds like a lost Tears for Fears track that might've explored a potential darker side we never knew existed in Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal.

Meat Parade, the disc's feature track, has a tendency to sound like Ministry meets Johnny Hates Jazz in a back alley street brawl, with Alain Jourgensen's crew naturally coming out on top. The subtle orchestral samples redeem the numbing darkwave, setting up for the disturbing but agreeable instrumental, Devil in the Angel. Devil features a cool, earthy tempo and back melody that is instantly smothered by Lockwood's caustic ambience and forlorn beat. However, Lockwood quickly interchanges periods of softness amidst his nearly satanic overtones. Very indicative of its title; one can hear the temptation of Lockwood's muse as he tempts himself between light and dark as his guide to the track. Do Not Disturb has a very hip pogo beat manipulated by a fuzzcore drive, once again kept to its senses with Lockwood's smart fusion of funk, orchestral and darkwave. Finally, One of a Kind is a pretty sleek sex groove even at only a minute-four. It is hypnotic but a bit of a tease, leaving the listener wanting at least another minute more, yet Lockwood smartly ceases his trance for a proper effect.

Lockwood is a visceral disc. One that tends to ring like a sampler of his talent with its short running time. It is as if he has opened the gates for a sneak peek at his warped engineering, then quickly shuts it, leaving one pouting for more. In a way, Lockwood is a domineering recording, one that whips the listener for twenty-two minutes, leaving the listener unsure of whether or not it brings full satisfaction, but certainly creating a rabid craving for the fulfilling climax that is only hinted at. Some of the influences Lockwood cites ranges from Radiohead to Peter Gabriel to Bjork to even Floyd. One can buy those artists to certain extents, but it is evident that Lockwood, if not the true offspring of Ministry, is most decidedly a disciple and an apt pupil, at that.

Contact Information:
Post: Arete Living Arts Foundation, 64 Dupont St #2L, Brooklyn, NY, 11222, USA
Phone: (718) 349-1681
Fax: (718) 349-2481

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