UPSET THE RHYTHM
I’m sorry, John Maus. I think you’re wrong. To say you have failed in your attempt to reach new artistic limits just isn’t true, IMHO. I apologise for contradicting you, but to me, this is a step forward. A step forward from “Songs” (2006) and “Love Is Real” (2007), and confirmation that, with every new album, you become better as a composer. It’s your least rudimentary album, the one on which your musical abilities are best expressed and which transmits a higher level of sacrifice, where you’ve kept some aces up your sleeve when recording it. All that has proven rewarding. It translates into a more sensitive and self-assured sound, a sound which, without moving away too much from those lo-fi limits you set for yourself, better condenses your ideas, organises them into a solid and visible structure, less scattered than on your previous efforts. I salute you for that.
By now, you should know that I have a soft spot for “Pitiless Censors”. I wouldn’t say it’s the most important release of your career, I think that honour still belongs to “Love Is Real”, but it is my new favourite. I think it’s your most spot-on attempt to find that place of your own. The timing, of course, works in your favour. Because, though you may not know it, this is the right moment for a hypnagogic messiah like you to step forward, like your former partners Ariel Pink and Noah Lennox have with “Before Today” in 2010 and “Tomboy” this year. I believe your talents are driven by the same engine and I consider you equally masterful when it comes to balancing opposite poles like the sacred and the hedonist, like elegiac and the frivolous. Equally masterful and even more daring if that’s possible, I’m telling you.
For all that, I would like to thank you. For keeping reminding me of Joy Division and Suicide, for having added names to the equation such as OMD, Moroder and Gary Numan. Thank you as well for fearlessly recovering old sounds like “Too Much Money”, for revisiting, alongside Molly Nilsson, her “Hey Moon” from 2008, for the textures and the lyrics, for the bells in the distance, for trying to kill the cop in everyone of us (“Cop Killer”) and doing so, for that title borrowed from Alain Badiou, in tune with the times we’re living in, for that nocturnal and watery sleeve... For sublimating, once more, the decadence from beauty. Ah, and most of all, I can’t forget, thank you for having shaped that cascade of synthesisers called “Believer”: every time I hear it I melt, my hands start to sweat and I want to cry. With it, you have made it impossible not to believe in you. Congratulations.