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Pariuh – Family Witchcraft Attack

A roller coaster meant to give you a bellyache


If I may, I’d like to present a quote:

i was very depressed and doing a lot of cocaine and salvia. i had coincidentaly bought bed sheets that matched the color of the walls of my bed room. the color of the rug i had bought for my basement, that i now needed for the floor in the room, eerily matched the painted wood. i was in a strange mint and maroon cell. i liked looking out the window.

i am much happier and love life.

That was the first thing I knew about Pariuh, from the 2015 release Suicide Note. Something about the honesty struck me – concise, vivid, a little heartbreaking. I empathized, too, and I remember thinking, well, shit, if feeling that bad can make something this good, there must be some hope in it. That time spent depressed wasn’t necessarily time wasted, especially if one could mange to package it, create something out of it.

Fast-forward three years- Pariuh’s Family Witchcraft Attack, is released March of 2018. Pariuh never lost me – I have been a devotee ever since. But it’s been nearly two years since a release, a veritable epoch in a world with this sort of turnover.

It reads like a logical culmination of their discography; a mix of the watery, psychedelic sound of Past Life and the more graspable, melodic songs on Passed Lives’ Excessive Futures. It burrows into itself, commandeering titles and lyrics from previous releases. There is a sort of culture-jam about Pariuh; self-plagiarism as a kind of grinning, facetious joke.

The eponymous first track plays on the trope of the miserable family-man, wronged by the American Dream. It does so heavy-handedly, devolving to the question “so you’re thinking of leaving the family/ and burning the home?” The question is thrust in your direction, but really what it does is evoke a mythology. I’m reminded of the literary obsession with the image of American, middle-class dissatisfaction. I’m talking American Beauty, John Williams, The Glass Menagerie…

The rest of the EP is sad, but in a different way. It seems, on the surface, impersonal, almost surreal. But moments of that same, wrenching honesty come through, flitting in and out like the kind of thoughts you fight against. Whether a fixation you’re tying, trying, trying to mince around or a memory that elbows its way in at your most vulnerable times. What you get is music of a bioelectric sort- synapses being fired, serotonin being reabsorbed.

That moodiness is paralleled by the very fickle song-structure of Family. The Ep starts off with an incredibly gloomy stretch of discordance and feedback, before shifting, within the same track, to a rather uptempo story-song. Quad swings from carnival-pop to melancholy acoustic guitar, which leaves you feeling overdressed and a little dampened.

Recommended if you like: antiheroes, meaningful chaos, the opening sequence to Blue Velvet, Gokart Mozart, DADAism, Butthole Surfers and manic episodes. Satiating to those with a folksy sort of nihilism. A sort of musical carrion flower.

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