This is completely, totally predictable. No, not 51717‘s black magic induced 0VUL, but the fact that it seems to be getting the least recognition among Opal Tapes admittedly fantastic catalog and despite this fact, it remains my favorite notch in the label’s ever growing belt.
0VUL is an album slathered in gloom, pieced together under a veil of salaciousness that seeps like acid into your bloodstream. This is music that feels like it is trying to hold itself together, like it could disintegrate at any moment with each blast of noise and static penetrating the darkness. 51717’s oeuvre is a treatise on hunger and catharsis. “Blue Bridge II” lowers the listener into this murky soundworld with swarming synths and ghostly voices mixing together like the best kind of poison. Her vocals dance back and forth, going from soft, spoken whispers to barely sung cryptic lullabies. With “Wall, Street” caustic, plodding beats and snaking leads plot out our eventual destruction nay resurrection, finding the perfect mix between desolation and longing. Everything is covered in a layer of dust, gently tarnished. The rhythm picks up on the phantom sting of “L.K.I.X.” but it only heightens the tension that’s been building from the opening notes of 0VUL, finding the sweet spot between the breaking point and everything being okay. She whispers the downfall and eventually rising, and it’s apropos that it’s not entirely clear whether she’s repeating “Look me in the eye” or “Hook me in the eye” because either way the only place solace exists is in the burial and eventual awakening of “Essex Queen.”
Seriously. This album. Incredible.
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