Boy Harsher is brilliant in their atmospheric building and world sculpting where areas of cyberpunk and darkened synths interact with the underbellies of a fantasy city. While drenched in cloaks and gloom, 2016’s Yr Body Is Nothing becomes 40 minutes of enticing and almost frightening scorn through synthetic power.
Members Jae Matthews on vocals and production from Augustus Muller, the duo swings in less like a dynamic pair from the comics; fitting more to be the sleazy and smoke-filled backrooms.
While coming off their feature full-length film The Runner, Boy Harsher have these sadistic ties to synthwave that appear impenetrable from a distance. The introduction track so eloquently titled “Intro” is a foreboding mix of audio feedback from torn wires and buzzing amps.
The minute-and-a-half spent with “Intro” creates this uneasy tension forming around the foundation of the record. The following piece, “A Realness” transitions the eyes and ears to this realm of the extremely blackened and almost sightless club scene.
The whispered vocals from Matthews combine with the synth steps and light electronic bounce to the movement. Built and seemingly constructed for a sprawling metropolis flooded by red overtones and stuttering amounts of light that bleeds through the streets, Boy Harsher is prolific in setting and emotional form.
The title track of “Yr Body Is Nothing” has a simple one-two step on the snare and bass. The real star of the production here are the slight samplings of metallic snaps and reverb where the imagination becomes transfixed on speed.
Matthews describes, “What do you want from me, what can I give you? Your body’s naked, lights are red, you’re pouring sweat.” While the mostly leather and all-black fixtures continue to form around the ears, there are moments of intense light even with “Yr Body Is Nothing.”
The breakdown uses Matthews as this angelic reprieve through sonic affliction. Quickly, “Yr Body Is Nothing” becomes etched into the skull as the production from Muller has intensity without torturing the audience. It is the exact amount of give and take.
Later, pieces like “Morphine” almost resemble Talking Heads percussion stamps where the snares are built to spillover through the warping synth leads. Matthews simply breathes on the track and orchestrates this immense beauty and attractiveness to the mix.
Describing, “I wanna take you down, lies make it hurt. You, you want the same thing, I wanna make it sting.” When the instrumental ramps and becomes more based in the veins of sound, Matthews pushes on.
They illustrate, “She’s that morphine on my mind, she’s that morphine all the time. She’s that morphine when I’m coming down, she’s that morphine when I hit the ground.”
Final tracks begin to graze the ears like “Deep Well” which has one of the more rampant and well-orchestrated instrumentals of Yr Body Is Nothing. The drums especially here are a fantastic arrangement of authentic sounds that bleed into the nervous and paranoid synths. Muller is able to articulate as if they were an effigy to the production. Claps and bass stomps clash with each other like waves and before the instrumental comes to an end, Boy Harsher combine as this immensely attractive and almost unflawed example of production.
Warping, twisted, and finally contorting to the flesh, Yr Body Is Nothing both stimulates and punishes the audience through the record. 10 tracks leave a wake of power to follow, but also a worthy hecatomb to worship and praise through shadow-ridden days and nights.
Listen Here – Spotify
“A playlist of tracks that were featured on MattsMusicMine.com from the week of January 17th – 23rd. From Reviews to Streams, never miss a track with these playlists that are uploaded every single Sunday till I drop dead.”
Featuring: Heriot, Camoflauge Monk, Tha God Fahim, LU2K, Strahinja Arbutina, Toe, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Quest?onmarq, NIHILITY, Logistics, APES, Earl Sweatshirt, Ho99o9, Prolaps, Phace, Distance, Ethereal Shroud
Track List: Near Vision, Enter The Flesh, Wind Chime, Righteous, Take Me To Your Stash Spot, Goodbye, Your Funeral My Trial, Stranger Than Kindness, 2:22, Beyond Human Concepts, Vega, No Will To Live, Titanic, Fire In The Hole, BATTERY NOT INCLUDED, Dreams Be Like, Konstrukt, The Limit, Discarnate
Listen Here – BandCamp
Featuring: Bonnie Baxter
Track List: AS HARD AS YOU CAN, BOTHERED, BOY DESTROYER, HORNNIEST SONG EVER, EGO BRUISER
On his newest “humble offering,” Sick! is 10 tracks that appear almost in the wake of a global and intermedial reset. It wasn’t overnight, but in the light of an ongoing pandemic with still no clear ending in sight or reach, Sweatshirt appears like this angel of both grief and intense communication.
His last record, Feet Of Clay dropped three years prior, with a deluxe in 2020 but resembled more of an EP based off the shorter run time that spanned 15 minutes. Now with Sick!, Sweatshirt has a runtime that is much closer to Some Rap Songs and resembled coherent speech and diction, but the tracks on the project are presented as mixes through an almost incoherent blend.
Opening with “Old Friend,” the beauty of Sick! immediately shows through the instrumentation that is primarily touched by The Alchemist and Black Noi$e. While other producers like Samiyam or Rob Chambers enter the ring, Black Noi$e especially is a mainstay on Sick! and forms some of the power behind Sweatshirt’s voice.
A prime example is on the single, “2010” which almost instantly had broken the repeat button. Black Noi$e is fantastic and coming off his latest project OBLIVION which dropped in 2020, has entangled this electronic bounce to Sweatshirt’s sound.
The diamond-like clicks and chimes that run are stunning and create a platform for Sweatshirt to illustrate profound lyricism. He describes, “Threw me loose change, look at what I made of it. When the mood change, I’mma poker-face ‘em, it’s a new day who got all the aces? Who be foldin’ late, who know when to play dead?”
As per relation to Sweatshirt’s lyrical style and adaptation, his projects and verses have become more drenched in narration and the idea of playing with words with maturity rather than his previous and earlier endeavors like Doris or some of even I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside.
This version of Sweatshirt dons his dreads, a new role of fatherhood under the belt, and this impossible-to-miss level of progression even from Feet Of Clay to Sick! is noticeable. Looking more in-depth at tracks like “Tabula Rasa” where Armand Hammer features on the track, both E L U C I D and billy woods are gorgeous additions under a rbchmbrs and Theravada production.
Both of their verses tag together and almost steal the show while Sweatshirt comes in like a closer to finish out the track. Making “Tabula Rasa” this soulful but intense piece, billy woods especially has some fantastic writing here.
He illustrates, “It’s hell up in Harlem, so meet me ‘cross 110th Street. If the tree’s a bargain, bars – that don’t really tempt me.” He continues on through the Billy Paul samples, “I’m from where every car foreign and we drive ‘em on empty (Zimbabwe). Bury Me in a borrowed suit, give my babies my rhyme books, but tell ‘em ‘do you.’”
Quickly, Sweatshirt does not sit long with Sick! and moves into “Titanic” where Na-Kel Smith features on some ad-libs with a glitchy and frantic bounce of a beat. The style switch on Sick! and especially on the final two tracks here is almost enough to spin the head.
“Titanic” is such a hybrid of these unreleased tracks that Sweatshirt would perform based on YouTube leaks where the 808 cracks and his vocals are more fit to be rapped along to instead of listened to.
His bars here fill lines like “Give it to you straight, no frills. What I think might pay the bills, spit on cam like Makaveli. Came home in the 2011, Pasadena, John calling me Relly.” To then jumping with Smith to fit bars that describe, “Get ghost like I need a killer, Get ghost like an apparition. Hometown hold me down like a rock, so you know how I gotta skip it.”
Thus making way for the personal favorite of the record, Sweatshirt has this magnificent way of ending his albums and in a similar fashion to Some Rap Songs, the final track becomes this beautiful eulogy and reminiscent piece on what was just given.
“Fire In The Hole” has two parts, the first being a drained instrumental where a gentle ballad-styled guitar strums into the ears as these powerful major chords strike against the keys. The percussion, while simple, has moments of old jazz standards where the snare snaps are muted, but present enough to breakthrough.
Sweatshirt becomes immensely personal not through his wording, but in the way that he delivers those words. Without listening to what he is saying through subject matter, Sweatshirt is bleeding through the words and striking that blood into these tablets.
He illustrates, “Take heed, we took an oath to the sword. The shield took a couple chinks but it never broke. I know what he mean, how I play it based on what I’m shown.” Furthermore, he continues through this heartbreak and pride, “I couldn’t toast a drink to demise, I heard the clink. Life could change in the blink of an eye, I’m wrinkling time.”
The second half of “Fire In The Hole” is this somber and almost sobering moment where only a piano plays to bring in the last seconds of Sick!. And while the record does not undo two-plus years of being locked inside, seeing a display from Sweatshirt is enough of a blessing to cherish that time outside once again.
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed, Shot, + Edited By: Tyler Bradberry
Executive Producer: Mike Feinberg / Subversive Artists
3D Animation Intro: Nusi Quero
1st AC: Jared Giambrone
Production Assistant: Eris Deo
Hair + Make Up: Alexandra Wekerle
Rope Bondage: Sierra L. Marie
Listen Here – BandCamp
Vocals: Alexandre Goulet
Drums: Gabriel D’Amours
Guitar: Patrick Cloutier
Bass: William Lapointe
Guitar: Simon Olivier
Guitar: Louis Ladouceur
Noises By: Dylan Walker + Gabriel D’Amours
Additional Vocals By: Mathieu Dhani
Recorded By: Raphaël Malenfant
Mixed + Mastered By: Will Putney
Track List: Cornwall, Devour, No Will To Live, Sore
To collect the names of some of the biggest influences in music coming from a gothic standpoint, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds deserve to be at the peak of that last. Rundown through emotionally draining instrumentation and physically draining lyrical ability, Your Funeral… My Trial is a project for a hanging.
The fourth studio record coming from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, much of Your Funeral… My Trial plays as this storybook rises and setting through the first track, “Sad Waters.” Describing Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds almost perfectly, “Sad Waters” forces the audience to wade through this distraught and almost hellish depiction of life from vocalist Nick Cave.
Framing as a love story originally, images of the wild west tilt into the frame with somber guitars that bleed into the narration. Instrumentally, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds consist of Cave as the primary vocalist and key player. Backing begins with Mick Harvey on the bass guitar, guitar, percussion, and backing vocals. Alongside on guitar follows Blixa Bargeld and also Barry Adamson on the bass. Finally, Thomas Wydler finishes the percussion and adds on “She Fell Away,” a fire extinguisher of all devices.
While the title track “Your Funeral My Trial” hits fairly early at the third track in the mix, it becomes this monumental and frankly destructive battle between sludge-mixed bass tones and Cave’s depressing and sinking performance.
In this comfortably numb situation, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are a masterpiece of style and grain. The upbeat piano which strikes the keys between isolated bass notes sets the table for Cave to illustrate some of his most in-depth writing.
He says, “I am a crooked man, and I’ve walked a crooked mile. Night, the shameless widow, doffed her weeds, in a pile…” As the instrumentation appears almost droning at this point, Cave continues later, “Here I am, little lamb. Let all the bells in whoredom ring, all the crooked bitches that she was. Mongers of pain saw the moon, become a fang. Your funeral, my trial. Your funeral my trial.”
Even after Your Funeral… My Trial has stopped as a record, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds almost beg to have the title-cut “Your Funeral My Trial” played again and again like some distant memory of an entire life flashing before the eyes.
In the same notion, “Hard On For Love” is blitzing in instrumentation but becomes this almost preaching moment for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Together as a group, They capture the audience and spend more time in this interrogation sequence. Instead of questions, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds deliver more of a pummeling and overwhelming display where the audience spends time scrambling to find a narrow rhythm to follow.
This trance-like state takes over and controls the audience, pushing them further and further toward this harrowing black abyss. As the feet desperately claw into the earth, trying to save oneself from the enormous mass grave, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds appear to be more than just in control on Your Funeral… My Trial; They become divinity.