Albums That Will &%*! Your Face Off in 2015: Voices, London
There are two types of “infinity”: Between your finger and the mouse that it’s poised to click, there lie innumerable teeny tiny spaces. That’s a “small infinity,” an amount of sub-nano-somethings counted by a number with infinite digits. Then there’s a “large Infinity,” the kinda traditional Infinity, the number of grains of sand to make a trail from your bed to the farthest reaches of space, a hugeness immeasurable.
It might remind you of concept albums.
“Small” concept albums tell the cute story of a doomed dude outmatched by fate and fortune. It’s relative is a modest infinity (above). Think of Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime and Deloused In The Comatorium by The Mars Volta. Of course, even a small concept album appears massive when compared to a regular album of unconnected songs, but this type of album aspires only to be one league deeper than that: a medium-sized story set to cool music.
The “Large Concept Album” is so unwieldy as to hardly exist, and aims to explore a huge, messy part of life, like the seven deadly sins or visiting all 50 states or whatever. Equate the LCA with an uncomfortably massive infinity, and you laugh at those who produce a ruler and propose to measure it. Likewise, rock musicians sound jackassy attempting to capture the human condition — in 1200 words or less and amid guitar solos. There’s a Spinal Tap joke about it: Rock N’ Roll Creation.
We’re smart to wonder if Voices’ new album London (out January 27) is a dreaded LCA. Shit, its title shares a name with a megalopolis of infinite activity and experiences, and its cover art shows that city’s vista. So, a fan may prepare for an over-reaching and obvious non-statement about a massive, nebulous, intangible thing — and therefore prepare to abandon ship. By the album’s first spoken interlude, you’re concerned.
But London stays small enough, in a way. It’s still a concept album, one that echoes the vibe of Type O Negative via vulnerability and hateful jealousy, and the scope of twisting, untraceable prog-death metal like BTBAM. (Or the Voices guys’ former band, Akercocke.) But there’s a bit more: London attempts a sonic resemblance to its namesake via its many moving parts and sudden jumps. We’re not keeping up with Nikki from Operation: Mindcrime on his path to destruction, we’re chasing a family of frenetic dancers who alternate chatter, screams, and Army Of Darkness-style wails on the topics of jealousy, infidelity, and scary women. It amounts to many little statements about a LCA-sized subject, no conclusions, no fulfillment. It’s dense and evasive, but awesome. It will fuck your face off or convince you to fuck it off yourself.