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Writhing Squares – Mythology [full album]



Mythology, by Writhing Squares (album)
In many ways, the music of Writhing Squares could have only originated in Philadelphia; the city itself is a microcosm of creatives, go-getters, freaks & weirdos that have coalesced into a supportive & boundary-pushing crew. Former Purling Hiss bassist Daniel Provenzano & Ecstatic Vision sax-player & vocalist Kevin Nickles’ first musical missive as Writhing Squares was shot forth from this community in 2013 (the self-released CDR “Live In Space”) & various singles, split releases, albums (and a double-album) later we arrive at the duo’s fourth full-length “Mythology”, their third for Chicago-based Trouble In Mind Records. “Mythology” picks up the pieces left shattered by their previous double album “Chart For The Solution” and reconnects the broken shards together like Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese technique for mending broken ceramics, infusing the breaks with powdered gold. The Squares themselves are like mad scientists, taking the ruined detritus populating junk shops & surplus outlets & constructing their own sonic laboratories in their New Jersey basements to record, mix & tweak “Mythology”s eight tracks. Their new location allowed the band to regroup, reassess & reconstruct their sound from the ground up, shearing away the cosmic excess of 2021’s “Chart For The Solution” to a sharper point. Tracks like ‘Barbarians’ & ‘LEM’ are classic Squares; brutal, aggressive, unwavering assault of Motorhead/Stooges-inflected sci-fi punk scree, while others like ‘Chromatophage’s mutant funk & ‘Cerberus’s techno-slink owe a serious debt to electric-era Miles Davis & show that the group has more to offer than bludgeoning you with sonic force. Provenzano’s bass & electronics are like a tank rolling across the terrain - a gnarly construct of Hawkwindian headiness & ‘Vincebus Eruptum’s snarl - uncaring of what gets in the way. Nickles’ brass vacillates between Stooges-influenced sleaze, jazzy no-wave stabs, & cacophonous sonic storms, strafing the listener into oblivion. The duo are joined on “Mythology” by John Schoemaker - who contributed drums to “Chart For The Solution”s epic closing track ‘Epilogue’ - whose percussive pulse adds an organic swing to The Square’s sonics, particularly on album closer “The Damned Thing”s cosmic strut. “Mythology” tackles a multitude of themes, from fantastical tales of hellhound ‘Cerberus’ or the comic-inspired “Eternity” to ‘Chromatophage’s colorful/evil yarn about animals that eat colors (or a Magic: The Gathering card) to the true-life influenced ‘Acid Rain’ that deals with the uncertainty of consuming drinking water after a chemical spill in the Delaware River. Elsewhere, ‘Ferrell’ is an homage to the late, great Ferrell “Pharaoh” Sanders & ‘The Damned Thing’ by a short horror story penned by Ambrose Bierce about an animal whose coloring is invisible to the naked eye. Writhing Squares are in a transitional phase, mapping out a new sonic mythology for themselves after crossing the event horizon into unknown space.


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