The wait that I have suffered for the debut album from The High Confessions has been like that of the crack whore for the tiny tin foil package – and while it is true that any eminent project that comes down the tubes from Chris Connelly immediately ranks on the top of my list, the small amount of buzz I’ve hunted and followed on the internet for the better part of the year thus far has pushed my expectations and patience for The High Confessions into an almost rabid frenzy. And tomorrow, Turning Lead Into Gold with the High Confessions is released and I’ll be (hopefully) making a pilgrimage to LA super music store Amoeba to cart the CD out in my hands and marvel at it’s sound deep into the early morning hours.
If you think the name Chris Connelly rings a bell but are unsure how or why let me help you. Probably best known as former member of the Chicago Industrial scene (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pigface, Murder Inc., Damage Manual), Connelly is also the author of (by my count) eleven ‘solo’ albums and the author of Concrete, Invisible, Bullet Proof and Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock, the best damn rock bio I’ve come across in the age of rock bios. In my opinion he was the heart of much of that much-imitated Industrial scene and one of the few to truly transcend it, all the while carrying that beautifully dark late 80’s apocalypse-culture aesthetic into the present day. For inauguration of The High Confessions we see Connelly working with Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth’s drummer), Sanford Parker (Minsk) and Jeremy Lemos (White/Light). As I mentioned above the debut album, which I implore anyone even remotely interested to buy and help support musicians who, for lack of a better term, have been ‘keeping it real’ for going on four decades now, lays down tomorrow but can at present be streamed at the link below for a taste. As I write this I’ve been chewing on the stream for an hour or so and have to confess, I love the album – it has a decidedly unexpected parallel to The Cure’s 1982 masterpiece Pornography, weighing in with an intensely satisfying darkness that stems from patterns of droning guitar, often slightly obtuse rhythms and Connelly’s own haunting, often harrowing vocals. A great listen for those dark summer thunder storm nights or the encroaching isolation of the dying time in late September/October.
Every once in a while I hear someone bemoan the late Chicago scene (I’ve done so myself in usually alcohol-induced nostalgic moments) but this, like the Damage Manual before it, is the extension of all of those pitched and drilling albums that defined the Vertigo-esque era of the late 80’s/early 90’s and simply put, scenes either evolve or become irrelevant.
The High Confessions is definitely evolution.