The Legendary Pink Dots – “The Gethsemane Option” (CD/Download, Metropolis label, MET 872, released June 2013)

With the current band of occultist Golden Dawn “usual suspects” Edward & The Silverman, and Erik Drost, an otherwise beatnik-new wave era band of gothic Euro-rock old schoolers, the current Dots in their 33rd year of existence are now, since Niels and Martijn, left in 2010, a trio with Hawkwind engineer Raymond Steeg as the shadow fourth member, as they seem to be finding their sound more solidly planted in a more consumable reality and back on their feet since their recent Chemical Playschool 15 album, which I slagged so harshly here on the Aural Innovations blog, last winter, a release which lacked focus and I thought was an outright bad album.

The Gethsemane Option is a gem of a release, refreshing and fun, albeit one with many flaws. I will point out the negative aspects first, one being the noisy electronic drum beats and white noise blurring the finer melodies which also fade in and out rather irritatingly, as if the band never know how to start or finish a song properly. Now, the good stuff. I mentioned melodies. Here is some stellar and melodic songwriting skills displayed with smart lyric writing, gliding through the mystical and magickal as it may be. There is little of the abstract “noise sculpture” stuff found here, thankfully. The opening track, A Star Is Born, is a majestic song about a chosen infant of sorts, “This is Holy Magick”, Edward Ka-Spel, the singer, wails as the magical child is born, “laying in an unmade bed in a shabby flat in Nowhere Town”, as it may. Escher Everywhere is a traditional Dotz outing as well; psychedelic and a throwback to the 80’s pop era (if you can call it gothic underground psych pop) of the band. It may be a reference to The 13th Floor Elevators LP Easter Everywhere mixed with the hallucinogenic ordered architectural and optical illusion art of M.C. Escher. One More Dimension is a longer echoey psychedelic track I also enjoy immensely. What strikes me here is that the LPD’s are finally writing songs. Personally I just wish the production wasn’t so shabby, noisy or compressed, like recorded at home on a laptop. Maybe they have gotten too comfy at home with their recording techniques. The cover art is a Muslim woman with four arms naked covered in blood underneath in a fruit bearing tree; quite unsettling. As mystics with religion, it may be interpreted as an image of Eden, or an oasis and a Islamic militant female with four arms as if a diety out of Hinduism, sitting in Lotus position underneath, with blood spattered everywhere, and a anti-nuclear peace symbol on her chest in blood. LPD’s are not strangers to Islam, it seems, being East Majick druids on their magic carpet and their mystical echoes of The Old Man in The Mountain and the Hashishins; the LPD’s are “dagger-music”, as it may be… brandishing daggers and stoned immaculate as medieval Hashishins. Or they can crunch angelic or celestial observations with any modern or ancient religion, yet claim to be Gnostics and Atheists, or more likely, also Wiccan.

Its a nice effort. I have been listening to The Gethsemane Option all summer, only after getting the download only LPD’s album Taos Hum which is less successful yet sounds very similar with the noisy electronic drums and irritating fades. LPD and relations are very active on Bandcamp with exclusive recordings there, so much fantastic early cassette and early live shows and other stuff now availible for download. Seek them out, turn on, and work that Mojo, The LPD’s are a band for the mystical seekers out there. I give this album a solid 7 and 1/2 out of 10 on the scale. Good place to start your LPD collection, if you want to start with the new stuff. Myself, the 80’s-90’s eras are where the most magick still resonates Dotz-wise. Sing While You May, for another 33 years, Edward, and the other merry band of Dotz who otherwise make the sounds! There is no other band that sound quite like these guys.

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Reviewed by Christian Eric Mumford

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