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Aloysha Het - The Purgatourist

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 28 / 1 / 2012

Aloysha Het - The Purgatourist
Label: Chain Smoking Records
Format: CD


Eerily eccentric, but inventive lo-fi pop on well-crafted debut album from reclusive American musician, Aloysha Het

Following on from his 2009 EP 'Little Green', Alyosha Het’s first LP 'The Purgatourist' is a well-crafted lo-fi/bedroom production, brimming over with eccentricity and eeriness. Het is something of an enigma, a Jandek or Daniel Johnston for the 21st century and he apparently revels in the mystique. Searching the internet yields few clues as to his identity, while the inlay card in 'The Purgatourist' CD offers no information whatsoever. To record the album, Het effectively withdrew from the world, working alone in a basement with a guitar and a four-track recorder. Eschewing the modern equipment normally favoured by the lo-fi fraternity, Het used old-fashioned and, in some cases, broken equipment to obtain his own brand of sonic strangeness. 'The Purgatourist' opens with 'Little Green Pills – Little Green Men', a proto-country hoe-down with a vocal passed through a broken guitar amp. Musicall, the track is relatively basic, but Het’s treatment of his vocal and the overall sound of the piece make up for any melodic limitations. Lyrically the album is deliberately cryptic, often humorous and extremely inventive. 'My Life in the 7th Town of the Dead', for instance, talks of getting down to “that special hell” while the penultimate track 'I’m a Creep and your Sister is Painfully Aware of this Fact' is at once hilarious and ever-so-slightly creepy. 'Bury Me Standing' is an off-kilter narrative which reminded me, thematically, of Neil Young’s 'Last Trip to Tulsa'. Production-wise, it is one of the more inventive tracks on the album, a truly left-field opus. The album closes with 'Horrorshow', another lyrical triumph, by turns amusing and downright weird. It’s difficult to classify an album like this – there is no appropriate pigeon-hole into which it comfortably sits. 'The Purgatourist' is outsider music at its most palatable, while it will certainly never attain mass-market appeal, there is, I suspect, a cult following out there who will devour and adore this album. Whatever one thinks of this album, one could never accuse Het of playing it safe. This is an inventive album, full of unpredictable twists and turns. Its very strangeness is its strength, but it is not simply a curio to be scoffed at – there is a truly appealing quality to Het’s song writing which will excite the more open minded. Reminiscent of Skip Spence at his most beguiling, I suspect that this is the first step on an extremely interesting road for Alyosha Het. In these days of 'The X-Factor' and boy bands, it’s great to hear someone doing something that little bit different. Alyosha Het, I take my hat off to you. More strangeness, please.

Track Listing:-
1 Little Green Pills - Little Green Men
2 A Sudden Death - A Nice Surprise
3 My Life In The 7th Town Of The Dead
4 Blacklung (Dig My Canary)
5 Bury Me Standing
6 The Projectionist
7 Supernatural Man
8 Poor Czarina
9 The Carving Line
10 I'm A Creep (And Your Sister Is Painfully Aware Of This Fact)
11 Horrorshow (That Girl)

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