Vases by Wet Nurse + Matt Finney. The font says cool, classy, elegant. That’s why the advertisers use it.
White lilies, stark and beautiful, just-so against the pale grey of a gallery wall. There is water in the vase but they’re perfect. They can’t be real. Can they?
What if they are plastic, material, false? What if they are chemically treated, preserved, enhanced?
Are they less the lily?
Or are real lilies now no longer enough? Are they now inferior in their imperfection? It seems looking like the perfect lily is more important than actually being a lily.
Vases is a collaboration between Canadian noise-smith Wet Nurse and US noir-poet Matt Finney. Four tracks of increasingly growling 80’s-neon-juiced electronica and four behind-the-scenes tales of attempting to be the perfect lily, each desperate, each sordid. Claustrophobic, bathed in artificial light, bleary eyed, bruising.
It may kick off sounding like The Cure between Faith & Pornography, but soon begins the cocaine fueled headache buzz. Matt Finney’s delivery, normally more straight prose, take on a more poetic, almost song-like, tone. Repetition of lines is used to great effect. Lines. Effect.
There is a sense in the lyrics of both censure and encouragement, fascination and repulsion, and finally, of judgement born of despair. What good am I if you are afraid to touch me?
I guess this album is mining a similar vein to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Neon Demon; certainly it sounds like Neon Demon looks. Maybe it sounds a bit like it sounds too. But not so glossy, not so retro. Maybe it’s more like Bob Fosse’s last film, Star 80, the fictionalised account of the real life death of Playboy model Dorothy Stratten. Fosse also did Cabaret. But you knew that. And Vase doesn’t sound like Cabaret.
This is an excellent album with Wet Nurse and Matt Finney both pushing their sounds further. Certainly I think this is one of Matt’s best performances to date, in terms of writing and delivery, and the music is extremely assured and engaging. As both regular readers of Coffee & Flapjacks will know, Matt’s work has been the subject of glowing praise here before. On the evidence of this, so it will continue.
Footnote – in the original post, I called Neon Demon supernatural – that was a mistake! I originally made reference to Starry Eyes, which most definitely is supernatural. When I took out the sentence about Starry Eyes, I managed to leave half of it behind, hence the confusion. Sorry.