A few years ago, I got it into my head that wearing a John Mellencamp shirt to punk rock shows would be the most punk rock thing ever. Of course, it is kind of silly coming from me – an unabashed John Mellencamp fan and settling (mostly) comfortably into my 40’s. But I was really proud of the thought and put it into motion. I tested this theory of being uncool by wearing my Mellencamp shirt to a Mudhoney show in Seattle. Of course, I ran into Mark Arm (Mudhoney singer / co-founder) randomly, had a brief conversation with him, and realized that I wasn’t cool enough to own my uncool. Or something like that anyway. This story came to mind as I was listening to my review copy of the third Death Threat Cassette album. Use Your Delusion features a song called John Mellencamp & the Infinite Sadness – not only one of the best song titles in history, but it is also the best song on the new album.
Death Threat Cassette is the solo project of Lee Pecqueur – a tour de force of rage, grunge, and sonic f/x. I’ve had a deep love for this project since the start. Lee also has a personal connection to Seattle – his 1st album with the band Solanoid was produced by Jack Endino who is famous for his connection to Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden (amongst others). Of course, I’m no longer in the Seattle area – but it is in my blood and always will be. All this backstory is good to keep in mind when approaching the new DTC album. It’s been 5 years since the last album and that period of time can be an eternity in life. Lots of changes can and usually do happen, and it’s no different for Lee. With that in mind, the album’s lyrical content and sound reflects a slightly more mature outlook than last outings. Less horrorshow and more excellent show, as it were. This is Death Threat Cassette’s finest hour, thus far.
Single The Purge opens the album on a high note. Of course, the title will call to mind a popular film series (that I’ve never seen). It is a melodic slab of grunge inspired chaos. Use Your Delusion is that vintage Seattle sound as filtered through Lee’s English sensibility. The lyrics are half spoken, a tale of Hitchcockian proportions. “…and then he realized / that he lost his mind”. Classic stuff. Tank Gun Solder is another single and is an immediately memorable sing-along. “No tank / no gun / no soldier”. A self-explanatory anthem that is forceful in its impact. GoPro is a midtempo exercise in angst. Call and response vocals, layered guitars that build as the song progresses – it is an epic song. John Mellencamp & the Infinite Sadness closes the album out and is in the grand tradition of leaving the listeners wanting more. No small feat at over 7 minutes. Understated vocals by Lee here, his voice imbued with mellon collie (yes, that spelling is quite intentional). Is John Mellencamp infinitely sad? I don’t know, but this song does a nice job of making me think that way. Spoken word passages, Nine Inch Nails type sound f/x, an overwhelming sense of dread, white noise – this song encapsulates everything I love about the Death Threat Cassette project. Stunning.
The album is out the 1st week of March on all streaming platforms. You can check out the latest from the band on their Facebook page or Bandcamp page. It’s my album of the year so far – just stunning, every track. I can’t wait to hear what comes next.
Verdict: The Lonesome Jubilee
For Fans of: Mudhoney, Nirvana, Nine Inc Nails, Hole, L7
- The Purge
- Rules R 4 Fools
- Paper Heart
- Use Your Delusion
- Red Letter Lighthouse
- Tan Gun Soldier
- The Seance
- Quadraspaz Sex Fiend
- Stream of Unconsciousness
- Unicorn Llamas
- Track & Field
- John Mellencamp & the Infinite Sadness