The pull of the Pacific Northwest can be very strong. I felt it in my teens as the grunge revolution exploded nationwide. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains – all bands that became intertwined with how I presented myself to the world. Lyrics that came from a sense of desolation and pain, making the mystique of the Seattle, WA region even more appealing to me (as it turns out – Aberdeen, WA can also be held responsible for Kurt Cobain‘s lonely words). Even as the public adulation subsided, I could still feel Seattle calling me. I eventually relocated my entire life to the Puget Sound region at the tender age of 24. Lee Pecqueur – who IS Death Threat Cassette – can surely relate to the calling of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
England’s Lee Pecqueur got his start as frontman for the Seattle influenced band, Solanoid (indeed, famed Nirvana producer Jack Endino produced the band’s debut, Aurora Avenue). When that band dissolved after 2 records, Pecqueur began to record songs in his home studio and came up with the name “Death Threat Cassette” after watching everyone’s favorite comedy film, Saw. One play of the record and it all begins to make sense – violence beneath beauty and sweetness where evil lurks. Feedback drenched songs laced with sing-a-long choruses and instantly memorable melodies. The songs have a way of embedding themselves in the listener’s brain after just one listen – a sign of greatness at work. Solanoid had been called “England’s finest indie band” – they’ll have to start thinking of new accolades to heap upon Death Threat Cassette.
like a beast off its leash (album highlights)
Yoko of Noid – A noisy introduction with guitar and feedback fading in and out before finally launching its white noise assault. Pecqueur’s voice enters the mix full of angst and intent. Guitars chug along on a metallic riff and just as quickly the track cuts out. Key lyrics: “I think you’ve started a fire / I think it’s time that you learn / about the cost of desire / II think it’s time that you burn”
The Easy Way Out – programmed beats before it gives way to a haunting guitar refrain. The verses are sung with emotional clarity, finally giving way to the white noise euphoria of the chorus. This quite simply is a perfect song – for anyone who has an appreciation of music. Key lyrics: “If I was suicide, let the punishment be divine / When you think its time to try the easy way out / I would bring down all my rage / I would rip out every page”
Geoff on the Gunners – a track that deserves to be a huge radio hit. It seems to bridge the gap between the sound of the rougher grunge bands and the later bands that softened the edge. The vocals compliment the catchy guitar refrains perfectly – you’ll find yourself singing along in no time at all. “I’m waiting for the bass bin to come & smash my face in”
Leave Me Something of Myself – Warning – police siren samples in the introduction – you probably are NOT being pulled over (unless you are speeding or texting). Samples give way to a sinister guitar riff leading up to stunning vocal performance by Lee. Possessed by the spirit of Joey Ramone (or Julian Casablancas), it perfectly compliments the garage rock musical accompaniment. “I’m not anti-social, but I’ve got me a social disease”
We Panic, We Cope, We Don’t – washes of piano introduce this tormented closer, reminding me of 70’s David Bowie mixed with early 90’s Nine Inch Nails (hey, didn’t they collaborate once upon a time?). Emotional vocals encompassing a mantra like chant in one channel and more straightforward verses in the other. It is a compelling and unique mix. A perfect track to close a perfect album.
Those were just some of the highlights of the record – I honestly could have broken down each and every track on this stunning debut. You can check out the Death Threat Cassette Facebook page or listen to some more tunes here. Make sure to show your support of Death Threat Cassette by buying the album – you won’t regret it (available on Itunes, Amazon, or emusic). I’ve also embedded a brilliant non-album cover version of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” at the bottom of this review – enjoy.
Verdict: Death by Lo-Fi = Heavenly Bliss
For Fans of: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus & Mary Chain
1. Yoko of Noid
2. Missing Without Action
3. The Easyway Out
4. Geoffs on the Gurners
5. March With the Mongs
7. I Choose Danger
8. Leave Me Something of Myself
9. Lee the Revelator
10. Seal My Fate
11. Bullets as Metaphors
12. We Panic We Cope We Don’t