Alvarius B LP reviewed by James Jackson Toth

Music Reviews
Alvarius B LP reviewed by James Jackson Toth
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Jan 9, 2008, 03:17

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ALVARIUS B Blood Operatives of the Barium Sunset LP

Following a seven-year wait, Blood Operatives of the Barium Sunset finds our man Alvarius B (aka Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls) again detailing the lives and dealings of sleazy characters, weaving a distinctly personal contemporary folklore as menacing as it is cryptic. Though a slightly more ‘produced' affair than any of Alavrius B's previous work, Blood Operatives retains many of Bishop's calling cards—the steel string fuckery of the s/t album, the Dylanesque folk warble of songs like “Cooking With Satan” from the double LP, and the seedy tall tales of Bishop in his Uncle Jim guise—but takes it further. There are detailed narratives about Muslim drug mules and hymns detailing the myriad glories of a life feeding off human hosts. Voices of demonic gargoyles, hand drums, and acid fried e-bow guitar solos bubble up and out at various points. At his most grandiose, Bishop occasionally sounds like a parallel world Nick Cave, though King Ink never wrote anything as dark or dazzling as “black and white pajama cough drop scarlet from dispensers / for every cruel-quackin' chauffer there's a scientists' misadventure.

It is interesting that two tracks here are based on movie themes—the haunting “Dracula Frizzi” from Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, to which Bishop added his own lyrics, and Ennio Morricone's title theme to Dirty Angels—because of the filmic quality to much of Bishop's own work. There's a movie waiting to be made within the septic depths of Blood Operatives of The Barium Sunset—a dark, horrifying, life-affirming movie. Count me in. [Abduction]

-James Jackson Toth

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