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Album Review: COUCH SLUT Contempt

Posted by on July 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Even if you missed listening to Couch Slut’s debut record My Life as a Woman, you have probably at least seen/heard buzz about its X-rated artwork, which oft seems to be the opener to a discussion about the band/album. But it should also be stated that My Life as a Women was an all-around kick ass album. Heavy, noisy, stuffy and unhinged. And the band hasn’t put out anything new since then.

Not like they had to do anything to keep their nails sharp though. Contempt is like a beer bottle being broken over your head and then put to your throat. There’s no comfortable lure here, no inviting moment. Once “Funeral Dyke” takes off, about 45 minutes of heavy, sludgy, hardcore and noise rock constantly barrages your ears. Hell, you might not even think that intro isn’t all that confrontational at first. And then Megan Osztrosits’ vocals kick in. They aren’t even at the forefront of the song most of the time. But holy shit do they stand out.

What Couch Slut create with their tracks is immediacy; situational horror, sometimes shock. Now I know, bro, you’re totally an edge lord and nothing moves you. Nothing. But for the rest of us that aren’t posers, one of the angles that makes Contempt an interesting and shaking listen is the lyrics. Bands (especially death metal, goregrind and pornogrind) have written about submission or shaming in an attempt to be shocking, but it always comes across as amateur or boring. Couch Slut is more like real life torment, anger and filth. When Osztrosits screams “I will fuck you, now you’re dirt” it is a proclamation, not some comic book power trip fantasy. The lyrics are more emotionally draining than anything else. They never reach a point of making the listener and they constantly hold your attention.

Instrumentally speaking, Couch Slut is a torcher. There’s very little interest in sticking to conventional means here. Hell, the main first-half riff to “Won’t Come” sounds like Iron Lung’s crusher “Cancer” and is as sludgy/doomy as they come. There’s no one sound that holds the record together. Contempt is heavy as hell. And I mean, crushingly heavy. This album might just be channeling bands like Bismuth or Ommadon for its slower, sludgy stuff. What makes it interesting is it’s always surprising. The saxophone in the first track brings a new feeling of discomfort. But guess what? There’s also moments that feel tender and gentle.

Couch Slut, if anything, know how to blend their influences without sounding generic or forced. “Company Picnic Dust Off” has a heavy hardcore/punk beat to kick it off with plenty of palm-muting to light the way. However, the track gets plenty noisy and melodic, with a Sonic Youth tinge. Meanwhile “Snake in the Grass” is a sludgy noise-rock piece that sounds like it’s trying to peel back some skin. “Summer Smiles” brings things to a screeching halt as one of the album’s slowest, most intense tracks; feedback, frenzied screams and a barrage of heavy drums and riffs.

If you didn’t like My Life as a Women, then Contempt probably isn’t going to sell you. But Couch Slut pull together some incredible songs here. From influences of old-school hardcore/punk bands like Big Black to the punkier/sludgy/doomy stuff of Fistula to the schizophrenic noise-rock/metal of Today is the Day, Contempt is a loaded album. Emotionally devastating without ever sounding like bullshit or like the band is trying too hard. Contempt is pissed and damaged and doesn’t give a shit what any of us think.

Score: 8.5/10

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