Review – “Let’s Celebrate with Blood” – Patrick Canning & the Suffering Mothers

reviewed by Jeff McAllister

Patrick Canning describes his music as “something between Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen at their saddest.” His lyrics are steeped in medical jargon; his album art splattered red. But beneath all the sorrows and the sinews there are notes of sweetness as well: popping strings, subtle chimes, and major triads that create the sort of clashing that sticks to the brain. Imagine the two aforementioned muses throw a teaparty, where they play host to Andrew Bird, Man Man’s Honus Honus, and Timber Timbre’s Taylor Kirk. There’s probably a bit of cross-dressing—glitter and gore and gothy face-paint galore. Twisted right? We’re only started…

Let’s Celebrate with Blood is circus of human disparity. Canning, one perverted ringmaster. His 14-track spectacle flits between phantoms, murderers, and violent lovers with a dexterity that’s schizophrenic and seductive at once. The Suffering Mothers—a trio comprised of Devon Milley, Victor Lewis, and Alison Corbett—play support with an amorphous presence that only adds to the confusion.

The spiral strings on Here Stands Your Lover are dizzying. Claustrophobic. A Tired Man gives the audience space to air out before plunging into The Mother’s psychosis once more. On Quivering and Coughing, the quartet set neo-tribal drums to industrial groans, while, midway through These Hands, they parrot a pit-orchestra with a sound akin to a spooky night at the opera. Children laugh and women scream and textures knot and tangle around what may very well be just a couple damn good blues songs in the hands of a seasoned Frankenstein. And seasoned Canning is, with eleven self-produced albums to his name.

After an eternity in the music industry, you’re bound to discover what works and what doesn’t. But, rather than limit himself to a couple tricks, Canning mashes everything up into a musical gumbo. His intoxicating gloom may be his best-seller, but Canning’s tethered a whole lot more bootstraps. And—bloodied and bruised and embedded with gravel—they’ve been distorted to fit perfectly within his robust and intolerable parade.

Let’s Celebrate with Blood is an opus that requires a couple listens, a bit of wincing, and most importantly, a lot of thought. It’s a loveletter to eclecticism, signed in indelible ink, and hard to shrug off. And, if that wasn’t promising enough, it’s a brilliant piece of composition to boot.

The album is available through Bandcamp.

Top Tracks: Here Stands Your Loved; Quivering and Coughing; Wooden Box

 Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*

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