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maudlin of the Well – My Fruit Psychobells…A Seed Combustible

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Fruit Psychobells...A Seed Combustible (1999)

My Fruit Psychobells...A Seed Combustible (1999)

Alright, this is the last album by these guys I have yet to review. After this, I promise not to talk about them until they release their new album this year (or something newsworthy happens).

My Fruit Psychobells…A Seed Combustible was my very first maudlin album. I ordered the re-issue via Amazon a little over a year ago.

Up to this point, I hadn’t listened to anything so freakishly strange as maudlin of the Well. I lived in Iowa City, IA, where I attended the University of Iowa. I had recently transferred from the University of Oklahoma and was starting from scratch – no friends, no family, no life.

So, I turned to music, in a way.

This era of my life was defined by two bands – Sonic Youth, and maudlin of the Well. The chaotic and often beautiful music of both seemed a suiting metaphor for my life at the time.

It wouldn’t be until the following summer that my mind would be graced with the sheer majesty and epicness of Bath and Leaving Your Body Map. Consequently, it was this album I listened to constantly when I needed my maudlin fix.

Though this album is not as great as the other two, it is still worthy a full five out of five stars. “Ferocious Weights” begins the album strong. Slow and methodical, it reaches high trying to grasp at whatever it’s trying to attain, seeming to fall flat at the end (in a good and fitting way, if that makes sense). “A Conception Pathetic” starts strong and takes some interesting twists and turns along the way. As I was listening to this for the first time on a walk through downtown Iowa City, the part where the song sort of turns into a demented circus orgy of sorts made me think, “what am I listening to?” maudlin of the Well. Duh. They do crazy stuffs sometimes.

The first truly memorable track comes with “Undine and Underwater Flowers.” This is one of the few maudlin songs that follows a verse/chorus/verse pattern. The outro at the end is wonderful. Very desperate sounding.

“The Ocean, The Kingdom, The Temptation.” Epic. This is the greatest song on the CD, no doubt. It has that underwater quality to it that literally transports you to some fantastical realm – the music maudlin conjures bears you away to places which can only exist in dreams. This song is the epitome of a dreamscape – the tension holds throughout until the nightmare unfolds around minute four or so. Very cool song.

“Pondering a Wall”… meh.

“Catharsis of Sea-Sleep and Dreaming Shrines” is really high up there, second place to “The Ocean.” The intro is just so killer. Killer might not be the right word…the majority of the song and album is very relaxing, like you’re floating on a vast, glass-still ocean under a canopy of stars, drifting towards the line where consciousness ends and sleep begins.

While nothing on the album really sticks out, such as on Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, the songs work really well together, more cohesively, I daresay, than their other two. The lyrics, as in all maudlin songs, are absolutely poetic and destroy 99 percent of other bands do.

For what it’s worth, I recommend this album without reservation to anyone who’s interested in the slightest. Perhaps you might be better off starting with Bath, but if you start with My Fruit Psychobells…, you’ll likely not go wrong.

This album isn’t for anyone who’s just going to listen to it once or twice. I’m convinced it’s impossible to truly appreciate this album unless you’ve had it for months. It’s so complicated that you could never “get it” on the first or second go-around.

So, as in both other maudlin of the Well albums, be patient, be kind, and be loving, and it will duly return the favor.

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