CD Review

The Blessed Virgin Larry - "CanYouSayTanic"

By Marcus Pan

CanYouSayTanicFlorida seems to be shock central these days. Maybe it's the heat that drives these guys out of their heads, or maybe it's the sharp increase in alligator attacks - I'm not sure. But nonetheless, some pretty screwed up individuals have broken out of Florida to land on the top of the shock rock charts. Of course one of these is the infamous Marilyn Manson - probably one of the few men hated more in the gothic crowd than Uncle Andy himself. But there's another, just trying to poke his pony-tailed head above the swamp gas and gator gnashing. This androgynous wonder is the frontman of a band known as The Blessed Virgin Larry.

The BVL have a techno-surfy sound that is heavily effected by sequencers. Vocals are distorted and muted, hanging somewhere in the background. Sometimes the effect is interesting - sometimes it's annoying. But most of the time it is definitely from the School Of Manson Madrigals. BVL's tracks have a droning quality - there's no fast strumming or Ministryish crunchiness. Instead it's a Murphyesque sound with added electronics and a bit of a tangy flavor. The pony-tailed androgy-boy that croons your way during the dirges of The Blessed Virgin Larry is Gamma. Mike Bride is the drummer and Dick e' Boy provides the tangy guitars. Prozeric is the keyboardist and Cid Ronik plays bass. They didn't do the Hollywood-chick first, serial-killer last naming convention thing - but it's not all that far off when you think about it.

BVLThey are currently at work on another half-length (seven tracks) that will be called Digital Transvestite. They just finished shooting, over a period of three weeks, their video for I'm Killing You, one of the tracks off of the CanYouSayTanic half-length I'm listening to right now - according to reports they've had three investors who pumped up the video finances a cool 25K a piece. That's pretty impressive - I've been getting a bunch of videos recently, but I don't recall any of those having what borders on "big budget." Not bad, guys. You got somebody's attention - the Florida swamp gas clouding your notoriety is starting to clear already!

BVL are real heavy into sampling movies and other spoken rhetoric. They may leave it alone like they did with the first track of CanYouSayTanic and just let the ludicrosity of it stand on its own; the first track is a phone-radio conversation that goes into that stratospheric Christian "Oh LAWd!" thing. Quite funny. Or they may weave a bit of guitar around it or set it against a windy background. The third CYST track is a long, drawn-out bit of rhetoric whispers and barely-audible monologues. Some of it makes no sense - I heard lines from Airplane! The sampling thing gets a little overdone in some places of CYST.

Blessed Virgin LarryThe songs themselves have all the qualities I mentioned earlier. The muted vocals, surfer twang guitar and simple bass lines. The drums are purely a metronome here. The vocals will occasionally get too whiny as they push the voxing too far sometimes - I'm Killing You's vocals has an undertone due to overprocessing that, whether meant or not, grates on you like a bad schoolteacher with a blackboard and an evil disposition. The second track, The Demon Within, has a blaring synth sound that dirges through the non-lyriced parts. This song is one of those "Don't mess with me" style bad-ass dirges. "Roll me over and spin me around, I'm the master of murder…" I'd like to spend some more time talking about the songs themselves, such as track 5 which has a real nice dance beat to it, but there's no track listing, so I'm not sure which one it is.

BVL are going for the shock-the-system schtick - in lyrics, sounds and definitely dress and attitude. I'll bet they have grown up a block or so from Marilyn Manson. But while MM go for the hardcore sound with the crunchy guitars and industrial slams, The Blessed Virgin Larry instead go for a lower-key sound with a droning nature and twangy, surf-style guitars. It's kind of a weird mixture, but I'll definitely give them a few ingenuity points for it.

Contact Information: SpaceScape
Post: Atomic Enterprises, P.O. Box 15483 Tampa, FL, 33684
Phone: (813) 273-8927