LP HMS 051
Treading that line between elevated art and unnecessarily loftiness and pretension… It's a challenge. It's not always easy to differentiate parody and sincerity, not least of all because we exist in a world in which real-life news resembles Brasseye and The Day Today. Irony is dead, and belief is the enemy in a post-truth society.
So when a press release reads half like a sample from a William Burroughs cut-up whereby Lemegeton Party is described as "the narcotic and occluded industrial-ambient debut for the Junkie Flamingos," it's difficult to rate its level of seriousness. And, according to the accompanying text, the album is inspired by Friedrich Hölderlin's Hyperion, and "is gilded with a neoclassical sheen that alludes to both the divine and the diabolical. Kundalini's whispered invocations which have so creepily effective in addressing psychosexually abject conditions in She Spread Sorrow are immediately recognizable here. Yet, she shifts the content towards messages of power and strength, even if cast in the shadows of desolation and solitude."
The chances are – no criticism – that this will go over the heads of many, and returns us to the question of the extent to which understanding the theory behind any work of art should have a bearing on one's capacity to appreciate it. I don't believe that it should even one iota. But then again, my own background draws me to note that in their naming, Junkie Flamingos allude to surrealist juxtapositions built on incongruity, something which defined Dada and indicates a strong Surrealist bent.
The detail is that Junkie Flamingos is "a project conceived in 2017 by Luca Sigurtà, Alice Kundalini, and Daniele Delogu," and that "Each of these musicians has their distinctive sounds: Sigurtà with his vertiginous electronica, Kundalini best known as the author behind the death industrial project She Spread Sorrow, and Delogu in the bombastic folk of the Barbarian Pipe and. Their collective amalgamation shifts but does not denude each of these aesthetics in the construction of this oblique, sidereal album."
It's clear Junkie Flamingos have high artistic ambitions, and "Evening of Our Days," the first of the albums five expansive tracks sounds pretty serious: even a line like "you are a small man" sounds menacing, threatening, dangerous when whispered, serpentine, from the mouth of Alice Kundalini against a rising tide of electronic manging. The backdrop is sparse, but ugly. "Shape of Men," the album's eight-and-a-half minute centrepiece is dolorous, sparse, and funereal as a single bell chime rings out over a low, thudding bass beat.
"Restless Youth" rumbles, grinds and glitches amidst flickering beats, ominous rumbles, hushes, barely audible vocals, and a general radiance of discomfort and disquiet. The lower, slower, and quieter they take it, the more you feel your skin crawl and your nerves jangle. Sitting between ambient and sparse electronica, it's darkly atmospheric not in the ambient sense, but in the most chilling, semi-human, psychotic sense. "The Language of Slaves" continues on the same path, the semi-robotic, processed vocals creating a distance between event and emotion. There's no obvious entry point, and this is music of detachment and cognitive dissonance. These are the album's positives. It isn't easy to get into, but why should it be? But where Lemegeton Party stands out is in its subtlety, something chronically underrated right now. With Lemegeton Party, Junkie Flamingos steel in by stealth… and then fuck with your psyche. And that's why I love it.