Jim Thirlwell, aka Clint Ruin, Wiseblood,
Steroid Maximus and (more famously) Foetus, has crawled out of the chemical
hellhole he apparently fell into some years ago. On first hearing,
Flow does as
its title says and washes over the listener, who feels he has somehow heard
it all before: the usual tightly screwed and sampled arrangements, cranked
up high and topped with his ever present, snarling, bad boy vocal.
Granted, Flow's torrent of words is Thirlwell's familiar angsty
blurt of near operatic proportions, but closer attention reveals his skill
as an arranger, producer and rhythm sampler is now verging on the monumental.
On Flow, the jackhammer beats are superimposed over wild and unpredictable
bold, brassy big band jazz melodies, high energy electronic ticks, mariachi
licks and Hitchcockian soundtrack snatches. A typical Foetus blast
of 'in yer face' confrontationalism, "The Need Machine" subliminally welds
traces of early Kraftwerk into the jukebox undercarriage of something resembling
the giant killer chicken robot in Robocop. Also excellent
is "Kreibabe", an Alice Cooper-styled shock rocker, Welcome To My Nightmare
era, where various states of musical madness (from nursery rhyme chime
to full metal mastication) ebb and flow over Thirlwell's treated vocal
until a peak is hit and the song crawls back into its corner. Possibly
autobiographical, "Kreibabe" is an astonishing, frightening and moving
exploration of the effects of mental illness. Here, Thirlwell drops
his guard - his defence wall of lyrical cliches - and comes out fighting.
Flow sees Foetus back on his feet and ready to kick ass.
source: The Wire, issue
# 208 (cover dated Jun '01), by Edwin Pouncey
© The Wire 2001
05 Jul '01.