© 2000


John Bergin, Jarboe,Brett Smith

A tour de force of dark, mesmerizing creativity :
First one notieces the pedigree : John Bergin ( C17H19N03, Trust Obey, tertium Non Data), brett Smith ( Caul, Trust Obey, Tertium Non Data ) and Jarboe ( Swans, solo artist ) . Then one remembers John’s C17H19N03 1692/2092 release from 1999, in which Brett had a hand in the sound design, and Jarboe added her demonically delicious vocals. Blackmouth gathers the three formidable talents together for a revelatory, full-bodied expression of dark, mesmerizing creativity. The music is a concentrated extension of what John and Brett do best, highlighting John’s vast, gray and crimson cinematic tapestries, and Brett’s keen , introspective spiritual excavations of the soul, all under a pristine production sheen – always beautiful, apprehensive and powerfully evocative. Then there is Jarboe , the light amidst the shimmering warped black mirror songs. But her light is one of shattered inhibitions, brutal truths, and visceral poetic reflectiions. When her voice coos like a child, alternating between mischevious and malevolent, and swiftly morphs into a rapacious spirit intent on vocal catharsis, the effect is enthralling. Lyrically she melds grim, taut reality with stark limitless fantasy. To hear her spoken word during ” Surrender For His Heart” amidst a sultry, insistent undercurrent of clicking percussion and squealing vocal accompaniment, one is struck by how outrageous the contrasting halves are and how they fit together. follw that with “Seduce and Destroy” which includes a barrage of metal guitars and a pervserion of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” during teh chorus – amazing. The variety of vocals approaches during ” Black Pulse Grain” can only be viewed as enlightening. Blackmouth is the perfect marriage of creativity, execution and passion. About ten notches above wonderful.

JC Smith