Lee Paradise - The Fink Music Album Reviews

Lee Paradise - The Fink Music Album Reviews
Toronto musician Daniel Lee’s second solo album delivers a dark and relentlessly funky set of proto-industrial grooves with a sleek dystopian edge.

Adecade ago, Toronto band Hooded Fang specialized in the kind of jovial, sun-kissed indie pop that flourished in the mid-to-late aughts. Their 2010 debut, Album, was full of cheerful garage rock smoothed over with handclaps and horns; an accompanying music video featured colorful shots of a puppet playing the xylophone. Yet by the mid-2010s, the band had left the Sesame Street cosplay behind, dousing their sound in jagged noise-punk aggression on 2016’s Venus on Edge.f
One missing link in that evolution: Water Palace Kingdom, singer Daniel Lee’s 2014 solo release under the name Lee Paradise, a bleak and underappreciated gem steeped in chilly krautrock precision and Silver Apples minimalism. Six and a half years later, Lee Paradise has finally delivered a follow-up. Yet neither Hooded Fang’s slide into dissonance nor anything Lee has done previously could quite prepare fans for The Fink, an uncommonly funky set of proto-industrial grooves topped with emotionless vocals drained of all discernible human qualities.

The album’s sleek dystopian edge may be fortuitously well-timed in 2020, but it’s not by happenstance. Lee’s goal was to summon the sound of “a wasteland where the sun doesn’t shine and humans have long ceased to be relevant beyond contributing to their own self-destruction.” In the tradition of generations of anxious punks before him, he succeeds in making such a grim vision danceable, plunging into staticky dance-punk (“Boogie”), an uneasy approximation of dub (“Maintaining Platitudes”), and queasy synths that shriek like those not-quite-real emergency alarms in disaster movies (“Positive Manifestations”).

But Lee’s main interest here is rhythm. His grooves have grown heavier and more sophisticated since Water Palace Kingdom, and with the help of some unlikely influences—the 1970s disco-funk of producer Walter Whisenhunt, early ’80s dub records by Scientist, the hard-hitting rap beats created by the Alchemist—The Fink trembles and quakes with a relentless, trance-like pulse. On “A Present to Ponder,” the musician prophesies a disturbing vision of climate apocalypse (“Oceans filled with bones of machines/All its guts in disarray”) over thick snare crashes and synth screeches worthy of the Psycho score. “Message to the Past” is even funkier; it’s got a taut, slithery bassline and a hypnotic vocal melody that resembles Damo Suzuki at his most disciplined. Clouds of alien noise hover around the fringes of the mix.

Lee has described the album as “cyborg-funk,” but owing in large part to its emphasis on kick and snare drum samples, the music isn’t synthetic or stiff. You can imagine it emanating from a group of warm-blooded humans onstage, and in fact these tracks took shape during live performances with Hooded Fang drummer Jonathan Pappo and Toronto electronic artist Michael Butler (aka Beta Frontiers), who squeezes squelchy textures out of a Yamaha CS-5 synthesizer. The analog aesthetic has plenty in common with another recent release from Canada’s Telephone Explosion label, Freak Heat Waves’ Zap the Planet. Only when Lee abandons the guiding funk pulse, as on the muddled, indistinct “Medicinal Magic,” does The Fink start to lose its charm.

Yet the album’s buzzing dread never quite lets up. Lee sounds like a grim soothsayer, forecasting a sunless world on “A Present to Ponder” and exhorting his followers to “run, run, run till the blood runs out” on “Maintaining Platitudes.” Play this stuff back-to-back with Hooded Fang’s sunny debut, and it’s like staring at opposite sides of a “me in 2010 vs. me in 2020” meme. On the bright side: Who knew the apocalypse would be this funky?
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Lee Paradise - The Fink Music Album Reviews Lee Paradise - The Fink Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, December 14, 2020 Rating: 5

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