Lincoln Durham | Revelations of a Mind Unraveling | Rating: 8.5 /11 |
“I wish you peace when you’re flirting with that ol’ Grim Reaper / But in life, I hope you suffer my name”
Lincoln Durham’s opening act of aggression on his third album, Revelations of a Mind Unraveling, consists of wishing you light and love all manner of niceties in the afterlife (how sweet!) but only after you’ve suffered the hell that is his – presumably – formidable wrath while here on earth. It’s a damned shame that honesty isn’t currency because, if it were, Durham would be more flush than Donald Trump and Bill Gates combined. From his mind and out of his mouth come thoughts that form words, words that express feelings and feelings that – depending on who you ask – might be best or more comfortably left unsaid. Unearthed. Unexplored. Or not. And that “or not” attitude is what makes Durham a beautifully fucked up musical force that’s impossible to ignore because his words could very well be the ones you were merely too fearful to voice. Despite the protestations of those too lazy to seek it out, punk rock isn’t dead: she just found more darkly elemental, intuitive and entertaining souls to hang out with. Plus the record’s only 31 minutes long.
Revelations... comes at you from the perspective of Durham – himself – in an erratic state, yet sentient enough to take that which disturbs him and mine it for its precious ore. As a listener, you may barely glean what a precarious road he had to travel in order to reconcile his headspace with such raw musicality but if that road had a sound, it might be that of the gates of hell, not opening and closing, but circling like a revolving door, swooshing past and grazing your psyche with his. Was that a chill you felt? Good, because this album isn’t here for your comfort: it’s here to shine a black light into those dark, pissed off, demon-hiding corners while fueling your base rock and roll instincts. It’s all sonically rustic and rugged, lo-fi and highly charged by sound textures of sinister slide guitar and percussive stomps while Durham draws you in as he lashes out.
As opposed to crooning (which he’s more than capable of), Durham spits venom with his angst ramped up several octane notches making his first album, The Shovel vs The Howling Bones, sound almost romantic in comparison (well, there was “Clementine.”). Whether he’s pushing the buttons of the self-righteous with “Noose” or calling himself out on “Creeper,” it’s Gothic blues, American rockabilly and storytelling on steroids with analogies and allusions for the mind’s eye to voyeuristically explore with every howl that Durham unleashes. Slinging some charming banjo twang and the common courtesy of referring to his antagonist as “Sir” gets offset by the threat of “…pissing on your tombstone” in “Gods of Wood and Stone” and it’s a finer (if not funnier) push/pull moment in an album thick with conflict and confrontation. And it’s an album beholden to no one but the man who wrote it.
And that, in itself, is pretty damned punk rock.