Efrim Manuel Menuck – Pissing Stars (Album Review)

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When the opening two minutes of a record is just ominous and eerie sounds you know that this is either going to be the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard or the best thing your ears have ever listened to.

Pissing Stars, the second full-length record from Efrim Manuel Menuck sits somewhere in the middle of these two.

The Montréal-based musician has much-deserved cult status among fans of political punk, post-rock and avant-noise songcraft alike, and this album is no different. If you are unaware of Menuk’s work, then one listen to Pissing Stars it won’t take you long to make the connection to experimental collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

That being said, this record is certainly Menuck’s own beast, starting with the nine minute epic ‘Black Flags Ov Three Holy Sonne’, which has an almost ritualistic sound to it, with the use of reverb and looping and Menuck’s haunting vocals. With such a sober sound and outlook to the record it is no surprise that Pissing Stars was recorded in several spells of self-imposed solitude during the last two years.

When you hit the repetitive nature of the beat produced in a song like ‘The Lion-Daggers of Calais’ it does become a bit of a struggle to listen to, and by the time you reach track five ‘Hart Khashoggi’ the tones and constant humming does become a bit monotonous.

But just as you are about to give up hope, Menuck throws a curve ball with ‘A Lamb In The Land of Payday Loans’, with its upbeat pop rhythm which comes out of nowhere, it is like a breeze coming in to clear the dense fog and arguably the strongest song on the record.

Pissing Stars ends with its title track, a corroded lullaby that directs the slow-motion stateliness of low through a nightmarish gauntlet of noise.

If you are looking for an album with loads of hook choruses, then Pissing Stars is not for you. But as an Avant Garde art piece it is wonderful. No, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but even on a base level you can appreciate the artistry put into this record.

Pissing Stars by Efrim Manuel Menuck is out now via Constellation Records.