Watery Love‘s new album on In the Red, Decorative Feeding is blown the fuck out. It appropriately pegs the VU meters in the red for pretty much the entire duration of the LP.
Decorative Feeding isn’t a subtle album. Vocals are hoarsely shouted, and declamed more than sang. The band rocks the same drum beat for most of the album, with Watery Love seeming like it’s about to fall apart at any given moment.
It’s a tenuous connection holding everything together — you wonder if the first few times this happened live, everyone in Watery Love just ended up sitting on the stage as feedback rolled out of amplifiers and somebody screamed into a microphone. It’s a little better on the second side, when the drone gives up to some thrashed-out riffs, but this is an intensely anxious album.
It’s ostensibly “garage punk,” but cuts like “Only Love” come close to dirge-like hardcore in the vein of Total Abuse. That particular cut continues in the simple, plodding rhythm like the rest of Decorative Feeding, but hints at a build to release. Of course, it never happens, keeping the sounds of the LP tight, tense, and uncomfortable.
I listened to Watery Love’s Decorative Feeding for the first time on a bright, sunny spring morning with a full cup of coffee while I ate a plate of French toast. By the end of it, I was contemplating what was wrong with my life and wondering why I even tried. It’s all brought to a head on the strange, despairing “Piece of Piss,” which is a stoner-rock Modern Lovers bit of beat poetry, ending with questioning lyrics like “Why won’t everyone get out of my life? Why won’t everybody leave me alone?”
Downer or not, it’s fucking good. Watery Love’s not breaking any new ground (that guitar tone is pretty much Ron Asheton’s work on “I Wanna Be Your Dog” for nine songs straight), but it sounds good, and it’s nice to see punk working its way back into garage rock again. I need a little hardcore to balance out my psychedelia every now and again.
Out now from In the Red Records.