The first thing that caught our attention about this Minneapolis (via Richmond, VA) boy/gal duo was their name: Hard not flashing back to those olden “punk’s not dead!” days when confronted with To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie. After that, we stumbled upon the gorgeous eight-minute, Björkian steam shower, “The Man With The Shovel, Is The Man I’m Going To Marry.” Um, not at all what we were expecting.
We weren’t too far off, though: Guitarist/vocalist Jehna Wilhelm and electronic sound manipulator Mark McGee’s debut full-length The Patron is a concept album, of sort, featuring “an underlying love story between two merging corporations that manage to capture the raw sentiment of isolation, profound discovery, and morbid betrayal.” Ambient sci-fi Futurism? You really can hear icy mergers and urban emotional decay. Listen to the distance (and longing) in the airy 4AD vocals, heart beat percussion, guitar scrawl, echo-chamber noise in “I Box Twenty,” an intensely escalating Portisheaded standout.
To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie – “I Box Twenty” (MP3)
(Or, just dig the final comet of distortion and sustain…)
While listening to The Patron we thought of Broadcast (see the sheet metal smashing ‘n’ finger snapping “Lovers And Liars”), Spacemen 3 jamming with Keiji Haino (hail the guitar noise on “You Guys Talk, We’ll Spill Our Guts”), Cocteau Twins, early Deerhunter (tuck yourself into various ambient patches), and earlier Björk — but Wilhelm and McGee, who also run the Riley Bushman Recordings & Archives, have been going at TKAPB (in one form or another) for four years, and ultimately end up sounding very much like themselves. It’s an incredibly assured, even brave debut.
The Patron is out 10/15 on Kranky.