About 3 years ago or so I was sent the debut album by Death Threat Cassette, a 1 man band based out of North Yorkshire, England. I was instantly blown away by the originality on display – a perfect meshing of violence & beauty, 90’s inspired yet modern. It was one of my favorite albums of 2013, and I’ve been patiently waiting for a follow-up ever since. Dial M for Masham arrives unheralded yet once again makes a case for being album of the year. It will feel instantly familiar to those who have heard the 1st album, yet mixes it up enough to rope in new listeners. Lee Pecqueur aka Death Threat Cassette disproves the theory of the “sophomore slump”.
The album explores the underbelly of the human soul – serial killers, evil, and hopelessness form the nucleus of these songs. Pecqueur’s lyrics dig deep into the psychology of madness and probe for answers, which aren’t always forthcoming. Masham is a small market town in North Yorkshire that was invaded by the Vikings (not the ones from Minnesota) in 900 AD, the town & church set on fire and left in ruins. These are some of the ghosts that haunt this record, a masterful exploration of darkness. Pecqueur felt that the album could stand to use some lighter songs, so there are moments of light that are welcome and help the album to flow smoothly. The music has a 90’s grunge vibe with strong melodies and sing along choruses – though you might do a double take singing along to some of these lyrics. In fact, this is the strongest offering yet from Death Threat Cassette.
The title track opens the album with strings and ropes the listener right into it’s menacing atmosphere. Memorable guitar riff, emotive vocals, and a beat the grows in power as the song progresses. What’s not to love? Perfect. People In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Get Stoned is probably one of the best song titles I’ve ever seen, and fortunately the music lives up to the name. A guitar lick straight out of Radiohead’s The Bends opens the track before giving way to Pecqueur’s tortured vocals. There is only this lyric “Take my hand & never let go / People in glass houses shouldn’t get stoned” sung in different affectations throughout the song’s 4 minutes. It might just be me, but I’m glad the English accent stays in the vocals – it accentuates the song nicely. Ocean Parkway Drive sounds like a hit song to me, and at first seems to be one of the lighter tunes until you look at the lyrical content. A slight hip hop influence (a “ticktock you don’t stop” sample runs through the song) combined with power pop makes this a winner. “Hope against hope / You’re a habit that i’m hoping i’m kicking / But both of us know / That you’re a time bomb that has always been ticking”. No Strings is a later album masterpiece, vocals front & center w/ melllon collie (and the infinite sadness) music providing the perfect backing. Pecqueur has a real knack for coming up with memorable guitar riffs and this song might feature his best one yet. “Don’t say hi! & don’t talk to her / When you spreading your legs for all concerned / Don’t get high, or i’m gone this time / I’m getting higher than a motherfucker every night”
You can buy the digital album here – the physical release is forthcoming. By buying the digital album you get two bonus tracks – Nutz Deep and Diagnosis Dickhead. Of these tracks, I felt like Nutz Deep deserved to be on the album proper. Alternative funk, wah wah guitars, and lyrically it is a cousin to Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money. Here though, the concerns are more carnal in nature. “Bitch, I know you want it / Bitch, I know you need it”. A dark masterpiece of an album – lyrically skewed, but no different from sitting on the couch and watching an R rated movie. Highly recommended.
Verdict: Cuts Like a Knife
For Fans Of: Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Nirvana, Radiohead
- Dial M for Masham
- Happy New Fear
- Spit On Yer Soul
- People In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Get Stoned
- Asphyxiate A Date
- Stabby With Knives
- Mick Dundee
- Ocean Parkway Drive
- Blonde Jesus
- No Strings
- The Shipman Prescription