Album Reviews

Wise Blood – Id

on June 24, 2013, 12:01am
Wise Blood C+
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Southern gothic author Flannery O’Connor’s piercing novel Wise Blood tells the story of a recently returned WWII soldier struggling with his faith and attempting to start a “Holy Church of Christ Without Christ”. There’s also a side plot about a gorilla and a mummy, but the whole thing finds wry humor and mystic depth in the odd dusk. Similarly, Id, Christopher Laufman’s new LP as Wise Blood questions traditions, blends lines, and straddles worlds, all with a dark smirk.

Musically, much of Id plays out like Animal Collective with an orchestral bent, or Why? sticking to a soul groove. Patches of twisted trumpet play with heavily affected backing vocals, twitchy synths, and a hip hop beat on early single “Rat”, but it’s Laufman’s skipping delivery and oddball lyrics that stand out: “One day soon I’m gonna rent out a room/ I’m gonna buy a new dog and he’ll smell like perfume/ But until that time I’ll be stuck right here/ Living half my life swallowed up by this fear.”

But it’s not all nice-smelling dogs and night terrors. “Routine Reality” is the psych-pop take on the “New Workout Plan”, talk of intimidatingly dropping a towel in the locker room and doing reps on the bench press “to get swole.” Opener “Alarm” sways and swaggers, all while insisting on a need for “personal space.” Later, “Target” talks about the comfort of the titular store’s always-open schedule and stock of “DVDs on sale, undershirts, things that I just don’t need.”

The rattling album closer “Consumed” repeats the mantra “I couldn’t ask for more,” samples of a dense choir and a scratchy saxophone finding harmony between Laufman’s weary finalities. And he should be tired after creating an album in a voice so insularly his. That insularity can make tracks blend together some, but Laufman’s genre-collaging and quirky point of view make Id a compelling listen.

Essential Tracks: “Rat”, “Alarm”

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