Reviews

Health & Beauty
Shame Engine / Blood Pressure

(Wichita)

7/10

For over fifteen years now, Brian J Sulpizio has been the sole member of the ever shifting, amorphous Health&Beauty collective – a sort of improv country Mark E Smith on the quiet. The band has been both vessel for Sulpizio’s various musical obsessions and an incubator for talents; most notably the avant-folk hero Ryley Walker.

The scale of this record is widescreen (three of the album’s ten tracks clock in over the ten-minute mark) but don’t confuse that for lapsing into indiscipline; far from it. Opener ‘Saturday Night’ is careful to brood for the right wrong amount of time before the wig out commences; likewise, ‘Bottom Leaves’ – a reimagining of the pop standard ‘Autumn Leaves’ – stretches that familiar melody into something anxious, gnawing and studiedly anguished. Single ‘Yr Wives’ oscillates between the strident and the unsure over a repetitive, Stooges bassline, allowing the spidery guitars to build and eventually overpower Sulpizio’s vocal. Indeed, there’s a highly redemptive quality to his wrinkled phrasing as he matures record by record, and this vast, wintry album is an impressive addition to a now towering body of work.

Support Loud And Quiet through the COVID-19 crisis

If you are able to and would like to support what we do through the current global crisis, please consider buying an archive issue from our online Shop, or making a donation via our Subscribe page. Many thanks.