Where Do Broken Hearts Go?
posted on 3/2006 By:
I’m sure this has happened to all of you at some point or another. You pick up an album and give a number of listens and feel like you should enjoy it, but there’s that one thing. That one thing is your bane. It’s the single aspect of the music that stubbornly pops up over and over throughout the album and ends up ruining the entire fucking thing by din of its presence alone. Decadence’s Where Do Broken Hearts Go?, their fourth LP and first for ambient institution Cold Meat Industries, has that one thing, and in spades. In this instance, that one thing’s name is Petros, and it (he) has successfully killed this album for me.
Now, I’m no expert in the ambient neoclassical/neofolk niche this band inhabits, but Where Do Broken Hearts Go? by and large seems pretty well-done. The prime instruments at work here are strings, acoustic guitars, pianos, and a few drums, and the band uses them tastefully and dexterously to create esoterically depressive environments. Tracks like “Sin” and “Cold Winter Sun” feature the guitar strumming rhythm while distant, drifting strings arc through the sparse compositions; the effect is perhaps a little stale but well-done enough to evoke the desired downcast mood. More heavily orchestrated pieces like “Do Not Resist” and “Good Boys Go to Heaven” don’t fare quite as well; they attempt a more dramatic, martial disposition with a heavier use of percussion, but aren’t quite complex enough to carry the effect. Singer Eufrosyne gives an admirable performance on many of the album’s tracks, and her high, fragile voice fits Decadence’s propensity for (by turns) melancholia and tension.
Enter Petros. Now, I’m not sure who this schmuck is or whether he handles any of the instrumentation on Where Do Broken Hearts Go?—he could be playing all of it, for all I know—but his most visible function in the music is to ruin seven of the album’s ten tracks with his God-awful spoken word poetry. Anyone who needs a reminder of why metal’s “the more incomprehensible, the better” attitude towards vocals is such a boon need look no further. This shit is truly atrocious; it’s much concerned with sadness, depression, desperation, desolation, isolation, inebriation, and…um, the author’s genitals (featuring such gems as “I think there is no way you can understand what I feel,” and “You always told me there’d be no other man, so I will tattoo my cock S. I. N. for Self-Destructive, Innocent, and Naïve”). I honestly can’t imagine what purpose Petros’s presence is supposed to serve, but every time he opens his heavily-accented yap it shatters the delicate atmospherics created by the instrumentation and sends the music spiraling into the realms of pure pseudo-gothic Limburger. The Petros-free pieces—“Cold Winter Sun,” “When My Hand Seeks Yours” and excellent instrumental “By the Time We Sleep the Deepest Sleep”—are all quite enjoyable, but there’s just too much of this guy to ignore.
It’s a fucking shame that a group who plays as well as Decadence are so thoroughly stripped of value by one aspect of their music, but Petros’s 'contributions' are unforgivable. I’d have difficulty recommending this to anyone who doesn’t have a far, far higher bullshit tolerance than I.
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