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Art Bears - The World As It Is Today CD (album) cover


Art Bears



3.97 | 85 ratings

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Thai Divone
5 stars It's not easy reviewing one of one's favorite albums, and disagreeing with at least 50% of the lyrics doesn't make it any easier. But? I can try to review, to explain, to express, why I think that this album is such a masterpiece. Saying that the lyrics are top-notch, that the music complements them perfectly, that all members give here their best effort to date (and that says a lot when considering who the people we're talking about here truly are), doesn't give us much. Saying that the music here changed the RIO and avant-garde worlds of music, and even shaped the less experimental ones doesn't give much either. One has to listen, truly listen, and to read, truly read, in order to fully appreciate this short album. All I can hope to achieve, all I can strive for, is to give you a taste.

We open with The Song of Investment Capital Oversees, a ferocious attack against one of the leading habits of the globalized world- "investing" in poorer countries. And while this capital investment is done from great ideals, it lacs the understanding to prevent the damages it creates. This is what Krause sings in here, with one of the easier songs in the album. "The roads and rails/ Ran like cracks and/ Carry me/ Upon their backs". Two times she sings this two stanzas song, growing more sinister and cynic with each line. The music is industrial yet melodic, a combination of old and new, trying to keep the known and loved but failing to do so. She then sings only some of the lines, again and again, stressing the damages.

Then comes Truth, which is a song about the lies we tell ourselves in order to continue living in this strange world. After 2 sinister verses, she sings ""Then I got reading/ And I learned/ PROSPERITY/ Had come-/ And this was/ EDEN". A strange and quite sick guitar solo follows, a bit repetitive, letting the worlds transcend, expressing what words cannot.

Freedom is pure avant-garde, with a French "Musique Concrete" vibe to it. "Free to starve, or to/ Slave; free to choose/ A or B, as we offered,/ To labor or die." After the lyrics end, we are presented with a screaming solo, utilizing all of Krause's abilities, with an even colder guitar solo. Cutler on the drums somehow manages to sound like a cold machine and yet emotional and humane.

(Armed) Peace is even more avant-garde if that is even possible, yet remains melodic enough to express what it has to say. "The lamp of life/ Blew out, Peace/ Sheathed his sword/ Calm fell".

Then we get to Civilization, which is a twisted and lonely song, about the lack of one. Krause joins at around 1:30, Cutler is almost non-present. "The boatman shipped his oars/ -his tiny lantern glimmered,/ I could see no more?"

Democracy is a strange little beast that one has to listen too for oneself. It somehow manages to express in 2 minutes what most political theorists with this goal need courses and books to explain. It's dark, it's cold, it's malicious, and it's a masochistic trip to our ears. Cutler is no less than amazing on his drums, successfully holding the song in shape while refusing to keep to a constant rhythm, or to any rhythm at all for that matter.

The Song of the Martyrs is a cry from the revolutionaries, those who fought for those ideals, those who were martyred for those ideals, a cry from them about how bad their dream came to be. "All our lives, all of us/ Whose bones you have/ Climbed on/ -Were all our lives wasted?" it's melancholic for most of the time, like a crying from heaven, then an attack aimed at us 'damn criminals' if I might describe it in less polite words.

Law is short and precise, happy to the humorous extreme, sounding like a sick party from earlier days, cynic with a purpose. Then comes the attack on Capitalism, aimed as a satire from the monopolists' point of view. "Keep calm!/ The small ones will go down,/ The air will clear/ The strong will sweep/ The weak ones up." Krause sings pompously, full of herself, with the melodies behind her serving like choir of backing vocals.

The Song of the Dignity of Labor Under Capital is a cry for help, for showing feelings, for being humane, for treating one's workers like human beings. "And I cried and I cried/ And my hands went on/ Working/ And the work/ Hurried by." Towards the end the song becomes stranger and more chaotic, like building towards something, building towards?

Albion Awake, which is a cry for a new socialist revolution. All is leading to here, for this we were working, and the time has come, the time is right. It's one of the most avant-garde pieces in this already hard one, being Musique Concrete taken to its rightful extreme. "Awake! Awake!/ Let banners fly like/ Shrapnel, and efface/ The Sky".

And with that the album ends. So, how should I rate it? For me, even though I don't agree with the lyrics, even though for most people the music will be too experimental, even though it's not always possible to say that it even resembles or has connections to "normal" Prog, this is one of the rare instances in which a 5 star rating is not enough. Essential is not powerful enough a word to describe it.

Thai Divone | 5/5 |


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