DescriptionSeattle-based The Dead Science created a majestic, ornate and soaring collection of post-punk avant-pop on this, their third full-length album, and their first for Constellation. Villainaire is a brilliant song cycle driven by layers of Sam Mickens’ vibrato-laden voice, dark lyricism and sterling guitar work. Bassist (acoustic and electric) Jherek Bischoff and drummer Nick Tamburro anchor the tunes with endlessly inventive polyrhythmic suppleness. Together the trio unleashes a truly unique sound, intensely literate in both word and sound, with a controlled and commanding fury.
The songs on Villainaire range from epic orchestral pop to sinister jazz-rock to weary, soul-bleached balladry. Sam Mickens writes about “moral pragmatism and experimental moral nihilism, black-out drunkenness and its psychic and emotional repercussions, and the continuum of baroque fantasy and stark reality” and offers this up with tremulous, operatic rapture. Mickens mines his childhood obsession with hero-projection throughout the album as well, including a wealth of lyrical references to hip-hop and in particular the warped strains of comic book influenced idolatry/self-mythologisation epitomised by the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and MF Doom (see here for further exploration).
That said, The Dead Science are pure, post-progressive, pummeling art rock. Jump into "Monster Island Czars" or "Death Duel Productions" for an initial taste of how uncategorisably crazed, compelling and complex the channeling of a hip-hop/R&B fantasy-fixation through the minds and loins of three Northwest jazz-damaged white boys in a power trio rock configuration can be.
Villainaire was superbly recorded and mixed by band member Jherek, and features contributions from a number of guest players, including Shudder To Think’s Craig Wedren and Celebration’s Katrina Ford on additional vocals.
Release date: 25 August 2008 (Europe), 2 September 2008 (rest of world)
Running time: 40:05
Packaging notes180gLP comes in a screenprinted jacket with opaque white and metallic gold inks on a brushed, jet black cardstock. Silkscreened 10"x10" 'Heroes' insert also in white and gold on black paper. 5"x15" foldout lyric/credit sheet printed on uncoated grey parchment paper.
CD comes in a gatefold jacket offset printed in opaque white and metallic gold inks on a feltweave charcoal black cardstock with 5"x15" foldout credit sheet as per above and a kraft cardstock sleeve for the disc.
Tracklist1. Throne Of Blood (The Jump Off)
2. The Dancing Destroyer
3. Make Mine Marvel
4. Monster Island Czars
6. Death Duel Productions
7. Wife You
9. Black Lane
10. Sword Cane
Sam Mickens: guitar, voice
Jherek Bischoff: bass
Nick Tamburro: drums
Katrina Ford: voice
Lori Goldston: cello
Alex Guy: viola
Morgan Henderson: synth
Paris Hurley: violin
Kate Ryan: voice
Craig Wedren: voice
Engineered and Recorded by Jherek Bischoff at Gallery 1412, Li’lville and Villville. Additional drum engineering by Robb Kunz. Mixed by Jherek at Tallin Tallsman and Sons Mobile Studio. Mastered at Grey Market by Harris Newman.