Foetus – “Love”


Category: Avantgarde
Album: Love

I had quite a bit of expectation about the latest Foetus album. The last album, Flow, is undoubtedly one of the best albums of all time, in my estimation, and I knew it would be a hard act to follow. Knowing the rather strange nature of Foetus’ output since the late 80’s, I kind of assumed that this album might take a turn for the worse and be pretty bad.

When I heard that Flow was coming out, I had my reservations. The previous album, Gash, had been, for the most part, a disappointment, only to be followed by live albums like Boil and experimental noodling/spoken word like Foetus Symphony Orchestra’s York. So I didn’t expect much. I think the fact that the album was so good was something of a fluke. I’d like to think that it had more to do with Jim Thirlwell’s return to excellent songwriting, but, looking back, it might have just been the fact that Foetus had been pent-up for over half a decade.

I kept my doubts, especially after hearing that much of Love would feature songs written with harpsichord. Nothing against the harpsichord, but it doesn’t really lend itself to the Foetus sound.

My doubts were quickly quelled by the (not adam) EP which came out in the Fall. While the remixes of “Time Marches On” and “Miracle” left something to be desired, the tone of “Not In Yr Hands”, a non-album track that feels like a darker take on Flow‘s “Chirrosis Of The Heart”, was excellent and the single, “(not adam)”, is probably one of the greatest Foetus tracks I’ve ever heard. It ranks easily amongst the tracks featured on Flow.

So I raised my hopes. And I feel like that was something of a mistake. Because Love is a very mixed bag.

The album starts with “(not adam)”, so that only stands to reinforce your hope that this will be another Foetus album to be reckoned with. It is quickly chased, though, by “Mon Agonie Douche”, a French-language track that seems nothing more than ballad-y 60’s love song treacle, though my opinion may be too harsh, fueled by my disappointment in the Foetus that I’ve come to crave.

That kind of sound is better represented in the tolerable “Aladdin Reverse” and “How To Vibrate” (which sounds far too much like certain moments of last album’s “Kreibabe” to feel new). “Blessed Evening” stands out as an interesting track, though I’m not sure if I really put it in the same realm as “(not adam)”. “Time Marches On” also manages to wedge in a bit more of what I was looking for out of Foetus’ latest, though none of the tracks except “(not adam)” seem to offer the depth of his previous work. Most of them seem fairly shallow and unimpressive in the scheme of his exceptional discography.

I also was not pleased by Thirlwell’s surrender of vocals on “Thrush” to Jennifer Charles. I don’t know if I’m right in feeling like this, but with the rare event that a new Foetus album has become, I want as much of Thrilwell’s voice as I can get. Call me greedy, but it’s a Foetus album. And guest vocalists are not a trait of Foetus. Foetus is a one-man band and I like it that way.

All in all, the mood is a bit dreary and dreamy, and the lyrics seem to be a shallow repetition of Thrilwell’s usual style. It lacks the drive, humor, and substance of his previous work, as well as its grit. It’s still better than 90% of what will come out this year, but, after the bar has been set so high, I’m a bit underwhelmed.

This release also features a DVD of video content.


from ReGen Magazine (~4/2005)