Release Date: Nov 15, 2011
Record label: Dead Oceans Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
In his most famous work, Being and Time, Martin Heidegger argued that we live in a situation of ‘being-towards-death,’ that death forms a finite horizon within which we can choose to live authentically (Heidegger himself, of course, was notoriously and ambiguously implicated in the 20th century’s most well-known death-dealing project, Nazism). Fuck Death, the title of the latest album by Carey Mercer (a.k.a. Blackout Beach), can be interpreted in various ways: as a rejection of death considered as inevitable finitude in every human project (omnia vanitas), and, at least from a heteronormative viewpoint implicated in the traditions he draws upon, of creation (re/production) as a response to that finitude.
There's a common misconception that you need CliffsNotes, or perhaps a Ph.D. in Carey Mercer, to enjoy a Frog Eyes record. This is because a Frog Eyes record often sounds like a Shaksepearean play on amphetamines, pummeling you at a frenzied pace with wordplay, allusions, and vaguely familiar proper nouns. You might also need a stomach for the macabre: Frontman Mercer often shrieks like someone being burnt at the stake, the soundscapes around him melting into a hallucinatory drip.
Iconoclastic maniac/Frog Eyes frontman Carey Mercer has multiple outlets for releasing excellent music, with Blackout Beach there for his solo material. The last album to be released under that moniker, 2009’s Skin of Evil, was a dizzying stack of Mercerian goodness, the guitarist/vocalist’s trademark sprawling songs full of ecstatic guitar and yelping, impassioned vocals. Despite the fact that Mercer has described his new Blackout Beach disc, Fuck Death, as “a sibling” to that previous release, this one finds the eccentric writer focused on synths and electronic drums more often than his traditional instrumentation.
At this point, Carey Mercer is known well enough as a pop eccentric with his work in Frog Eyes and Swan Lake. Even when working in the latter group with the likes of Spencer Krug and Daniel Bejar (both plenty odd in their own right), Mercer still comes from way out of left field. But it's his undersold work as Blackout Beach that shows Mercer at both his strangest and most exciting.