Whitehouse - Bird Seed CD review by Mikko A. c/o Degenerate magazine
This album was released rather suddenly. I had not followed what happened after Cruise CD, and when I heard of new CD coming, I was like "again new Whitehouse??". But this was the most positive surprise I have had with Whitehouse. Cruise was very good. I liked it. But when I hit this to my stereos, it was an instant hit! 1st track "Why You Never Became a Dancer" is musically only one layer of rhythmic electric sound and vocals, but intense lyrics contribute so much depth to the result. "Wriggle Like A Fucking Eel" is obviously the hit of Whitehouse. It was earlier released as 12" single. A side had album version and B-side extended instrumental. I didn't buy it until same time as this CD. This track crushes all the rest content of the CD and basically remains as most intense power electronics track I have heard for long time. Excellent lyrics with good vocals. It's not full power shouting all the time. It starts with almost talking and gets louder and louder, ending up to high pitched screaming. All words are pronounced well and I must credit Whitehouse for having longer and more interesting lyrics than in their early career. Song is also composed well. Electronic rhythm is combined to high pitched sounds which remind bag pipes driven though distortion, but should be just synthesizer. Sounds are not non-stop. There is excellent breaks with some sounds, leaving more space for certain vocal fragments, until hitting back with full power. This is really more "song" than most noise tracks. "Philosophy" is over 9 minute song of droning feedback and analog synth sounds with echoing spoken word on the top. Despite sound is painful, in atmosphere it is calmer. Like whole album sound is clean, yet extreme. "Bird Seed" is spoken word collage by Peter Sotos. I've heard someone say it distracts to have 15 minutes of victims cut ups between actual music. And some others said it's so expected and getting old when you know what's coming. But I can tell I have no problems. With pleasure I'll listen this. But I think this "1st section" before the break is the better half of the album. 2 last tracks of the album do not rise to same level. "Cut Hands Has The Solution" is musically nothing else than one drum machine bass-drum beat. Vocals are shout over the clean and slow "tum - tum - tum - ......" style beat which hits 2 times each second. Vocals are good, and so are the lyrics, but this minimal music/noise was not good decision in my opinion. It surely draws more attention to words, though. Last track "Munkisi Munkondi" is almost instrumental. 3 layers of electronics sounds. Flanged synth, strange electronics beats etc. Overall sound is like in Cruise and other recent works. Very clean and very mechanic, but Bird Seed is even more rhythmic I think. Still, one of the landmarks in Whitehouse's career, and essential for any record collection!
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