Release Date: Feb 10, 2015
Record label: Northern Spy
Genre(s): Experimental, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock, Free Jazz
Coming together on various previous projects, including 2013’s Chelsea Light Moving disc, the guitar-drums pairing of Thurston Moore and Sunburned Hand of the Man’s John Moloney has churned through not just the history of loud improvised music, but each performer’s back catalog as well. Playing as Caught on Tape, Full Bleed, the duo’s fourth album, seems to reference King Crimson’s 1969 In the Court of the Crimson King with its album cover being just a closely cropped image of a man’s face deep into some emotion. Granted, the face on Full Bleed seems to be despondent, as it sorrowfully glares out from the cover.
Fans of Caught on Tape have been anticipating Thurston Moore and John Moloney's "pussies of the highest order"-befitted black metal musings since August, and on Full Bleed, there's no pussyfooting around.Album opener "Age Limit" begins with a detonation of fuzz and crash cymbals that characterize an atmosphere of crippling disorientation. Moore chases his distortion bombs with a frantic falling apart guitar solo and then blam — more fuzz. It's ferocious quiet/loud smash cuts like this that establish the righteous brutality of Full Bleed.While this is Thurston Moore and John Moloney's black metal record and they do revel in the devastation, it's not all a violent barrage of blackened noise.
Even from the early days as co-founder of art rock icons Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore always sought refuge in far weirder side projects and one-off collaborations. While Sonic Youth always stood on the edge of indie rock and noisy cacophony, Thurston's on-the-side dabblings delved far deeper into insane noise, guitar squall, and free jazz-informed improvisation, enough so to make his main band seem tame by comparison. Drummer John Moloney, no slouch himself, was a founding member of Boston-born experimental tribe Sunburned Hand of the Man and spent years pushing the boundaries of abstract rock sounds, eventually falling in with Moore as a member of his early-2010s band Chelsea Light Moving, among other things.
It's hard not to see former Sonic Youth member Thurston Moore's current artistic endeavours as part of a post-divorce mid-life crisis, especially when he insists on saying goofy things like his assertion that he and drummer John Moloney only gave names to the "songs" on their newest album of skronky free improv because "that is what they need to be to survive in this fucked landscape of politician dung patrol. " Either the noise rock pioneer has regressed to melodramatic teenager mentality or he's decided to treat his career as a joke. Lately he's descended so far into self-parody, it's hard to tell.
If you were in any doubt as to whether alt. rock legend cum self-parody Thurston Moore was joking or trolling when he recently suggested black metal was made by “pussies”, he kindly followed it up by saying that “it’s a music that uses the elements of rock instrumentation but it’s so anti-everything that, for me, it doesn’t matter what you say about it because it doesn’t exist. ” Yeah, so he qualified it slightly with comments praising, in a roundabout way, Neill Jameson of Kreig and Twilight but let’s be honest about it – Thurston Moore was at best being some kind of smug, self-satisfied prick and at worst he made an offensive and sweeping generalisation about a whole genre and its fans.