A selection of scuzzed-out rhymes and fried electronics from Carrie Ford (aka Philadelphia artist-poet Caroline Decunzo) that smashes pissed-off polemic into speedballing noise beats with bracing, on-point brutality. With killer lines such as “Fucking someone does not make you free… I can’t believe I let you touch my perfect body… I can’t believe I let you touch my perfect fucking body…” Ford sets out her stall with gimlet-eyed ferocity, taking aim at car-crash interpersonal relationships, erotic ennui, hypocrisy and the sheer trash that is life in our contemporary hellscape.
Like Cristina Monet’s gutting and rebooting of Peggy Lee’s ‘Is That All There Is?‘, Ford weaponises her angst through laconic, disdainful sneers, switching out Monet’s cod-franco-jazz for bruising aural assaults whose debris-filled cacophony covers her syllables with layers of grime and dust even as they throw others into sharp relief. On ‘This Ascetic Life’, she seems to be duetting with a whole bunch of construction works – a call for versification not gentrification, perhaps? – the clank of drills and heave of heavy machinery throwing down rugged lumps of debris through which her sarcastic asides shimmy effortlessly.
Yet all this sonic aggression only emphasises that fact that Decunzo’s diatribes often seem to travel in two directions at once, her protagonists’ contempt drilling inwards like a malignant tick even as it is smeared like mouldy ketchup over everyone in her path. “Try not to hate me for all the shit that I talk,” she murmurs on ‘Tenderize Me’, her vulnerability arriving suddenly, like a punch to the gut, her veneer of toughness dissolving to reveal alienation and isolation, like Frank and Moon Unit Zappa’s ‘Valley Girl’ rewritten by Chris Kraus. In the patriarchy, love sure is hell.
And on ‘Ritual’, what starts as a familiar takedown on heteronormative beautification vibes is twisted into something more oppressive and feverish. “Think about my body, think about food, think about weight, think about fat, think about nakedness… sometimes I don’t feel cute…”, she intones, her deadpan delivery echoing through a nightmarish backdrop of sour whines and fizzing grind to hint at unresolved trauma and anxiety. And while the coal-black, air-raid gloom that Decunzo conjures up makes figuring out what’s going on well-nigh impossible, the disjunction that results only adds to the bacterial air of malaise. Sour times, alright.