I can be ugly
I can be strong
I can be proper
I can be wrong
I can be lovely or I can be gone
the thing that will haunt you is still hanging on.
Noel Skum, the creative alter-ego of perverse polymath Andrew Clinco from Drab Majesty, along with his ensemble of talented musicians (including the suave Aaron Montaigne), has announced a brand new ten-track VR SEX LP. The project marks an evolutionary diversion from Clinco’s previous work, presenting a daring blend of musical styles. Entitled “Hard Copy,” the album is a spliced and photocopied zine collage that skillfully weaves together the raw energy of psychedelic punk, the polished allure of chrome-infused delirium, and the catchy rhythms of power pop.
Set to captivate listeners with its narratives of the lurid and surreal, including amorous escapades with sex dolls and encounters with glue-sniffing femmes fatales, “Hard Copy” is a bold testament to the creative progression of Noel Skum and his team. With its release scheduled for March 22nd through Dais Records, the album is a highly anticipated addition to the avant-garde punk mythology, resulting in a sound that alludes to the unfettered creativity of the Stiff Records era resurrected by Clinco via Dais.
To whet the appetite of fans, the ensemble has released the first single, “Real Doll Time.” This track offers a raw and compelling preview of the LP, channeling the fiery spirit of The Damned’s early works. It’s a promising glimpse into the diverse and vibrant soundscapes that “Hard Copy” promises to deliver, marking an exciting new chapter in the artistic journey of Noel Skum, Andrew Clinco, and their talented ensemble.
In a spirited demonstration of artistic unity, VR SEX, now a dynamic five-piece, embarked on a musical journey to solidify their bond. They seized a studio space in Glassell Park, transforming it into a creative sanctuary where the skeletal outlines of songs, once confined to iPhone demos, were brought to vibrant life. This was a venture into the heart of collaborative creation, a leap away from external influences and into the realm of pure, unadulterated artistry.
The lyrics of the album delve into the project’s enduring themes: tangled desires, fleeting excitements, tainted wealth, fallen youths, and shattered love, all set against the backdrop of urban desolation inhabited by eccentrics and disillusioned dreamers. The title Hard Copy captures the eerie overlap between imitation and reality, exploring the notion that neither is inherently superior, each offering its own array of joys and sinister delights. This record fully embraces the extremes and anomalies, the illusions and perversions, revealing the complex layers of emotion and conflict that reside in every broken heart.
“My goal is always to load up every take with as much sound as possible in one pass,” says Clinco.
The process was rigourous, embodying the essence of rock ‘n’ roll idealism. They dedicated 12-hour days to lay down the basic tracks in just one week. They experimented with amplifiers, toyed with effects, and added flourishes, each adjustment a deliberate stroke in the grand canvas of their album. This wasn’t merely a recording session; it was an act of musical alchemy, where shared visions and individual talents melded to create something transcendent and resonating.
Mike Kriebel, a guitarist and accomplished engineer known for his work in punk, goth, and garage underground, mixed VR SEX’s album to create a sound that’s dense, rich, and spatial. Inspired by Andrew Clinco’s muse of “reckless abandon,” the album features a range of influences, from the shadowy tones of Chrome and Stickmen With Rayguns to the mesmerizing sounds of Japanese psych and dynamic grunge anthems. However, VR SEX stands apart with its sardonic richness and heavily saturated style, oscillating between powerful riffs and space echo meltdowns.
In a move away from modern digital production, the band decided against using plug-ins. Most instruments were recorded directly into the mixing board, capturing their pure essence. The guitars were added through a series of amplifiers, carefully panned and mixed to achieve a rich and immersive experience. This approach not only recalls a more organic era of music production but also gives each track a distinct and compelling character.
Pre-order Hard Copy here and look for more news + music from VR SEX soon.
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