Opening with the swirl of looped tape and a flurry of different voices, the title track of Permahorn‘s debut album, My Blood Carries My Dreams Away, blindsides its listener. There may be melody ahead – but the anger and confusion is never far away.
The latest signees to slowcore maestro Kramer’s Shimmy-Disc label, Permahorn officially comprise a duo named Saint Pauly & Jexy Pesic with the former taking guitar, vocals and percussion and the latter bass, vocals and drums.
Second track ‘Vertigo’ is an appropriately cinematic take for a song named after a Hitchcock classic; Jexy’s delivery is dulcet and talks of being dizzy and high whilst guitar lines fall gently around her voice. Taking points from another psycho-sexual movie auteur, the album’s first single ‘Into the Dreams (Slut)’ is a Lynchian seduction. “We’ll build a floating castle and then we’ll tear it down” intones a Nico-sounding Jexy over a backing that throbs with an ache reminiscent of Kramer’s previous work with Low.
The album has its twisted takes on rock stylings too. ‘Radiation’ starts with an overdriven barrage of guitars that bleeds into the post-rock of Mogwai. ‘Lynch Mob’ is a darkly ironic ballad built around Pauly’s spoken word vocals; lyrics that talk of the happiness of “being part of the crowd” bring in the bleak sensibility of a Bad Seeds murder ballad, by way of Arab Strap. The Glaswegians’ influence is also present on the suitably haunting ballad ‘Ghost’ and the goth-folk snarl of ‘Peel Me’.
‘Weather’, meanwhile, has the drone strum of The Velvet Underground, buzzing repetitively in the foreground, with both Jexy and Pauly’s intertwining and melodious voices sitting slightly further back. ‘Friday 5:13’ keeps up the VU feel too – although the lyrical subject matter of obsessive behaviour and observation harks back to Pulp’s ‘I Spy’ and their epic ‘This Is Hardcore’.
The album is not without its lighter moments, however – though even they too are couched in darkness. ‘Roll Over’ with its major-key guitars, is a creepy take on the children’s song ‘Ten In The Bed’, while closer ‘Daniel’ is a gently lilting ballad that draws to a close with an echoing shudder of guitar. It leaves the album’s tales of dark dreams and fuzzy reality on an uncertain and quizzical note.
Absorbing and all-too-short, My Blood Carries My Dreams Away is a collection of hypnotic swirling tunes and vocal delivery that carries both a bitter smirk and an alluring snarl. And, through instrumentation as dark and multi-layered as their lyrics, topped with a jet-black sense of humour, Permahorn have created an album perfect for the long nights of winter.
My Blood Carries My Dreams Away is out on 1st December via Shimmy-500.