Friday, September 26, 2008
For some reason I think it’s very fitting that the Holy Fuck myspace page has a picture of a cat dressed in a kerchief and old school western hat and the title of Brian Borcherdt’s new record is Coyotes. You see, Holy Fuck is playful, adventurous and sure they even have some claws but Brian’s solo work - like the title suggests - slinks around in the darkness looking for scraps and would probably ravage that cute little cat with a single swipe if it meant surviving for just one more day.
This collection of songs set their sites on simple emotions and Brian pours his heart out to you in a more one-on-one experience. He’s not trying to escape the emotions that consume him as he plunges into another faceless, sweaty crowd, hidden amongst the twisting limbs, drugs and electro sound bursts. No, even as Borcherdt’s world seems to be closing in on him with each gasped breath, you start to realize that getting these thoughts off his chest might be the only thing that can save him.
Coyotes is a mere seven songs, most recorded in a single take with little to no accompaniment, but to me its infinitely more interesting than the material presented by his other, more acclaimed band. Instead of sonic experiments, Borcherdt opts for simple strums and little else. He forces you to focus on his lyrics, enter his claustrophobic world and scratch and claw your way out. When backing harmonies swell (like the chilling repetition of “don’t go back to warm them” on Scout Leader or the oohs that fill out Means of Escape) it’s almost like the man and the boy stumbling across food or company on "the road." In a normal situation, the sounds would float by unnoticed, but on this recording they explode into your ears like a shot in the dark.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Borcherdt is writing music that will change the world or even breaks new ground, but often the best stories aren’t the told using the best sentences or structure and the best songs don’t need to use meticulously thought out arrangements. The simplest emotions hit the hardest, and Brian is able to deliver those emotions with only a few well placed strums and fret board squeaks. For such a stripped down effort, I find it remarkably easy to lose myself in dark beauty of Coyotes.
Brian is returning to his Nova Scotia roots for HPX. He’ll be opening up for Basia at The Molson Music Room on Friday October 25th.