Casual Nun‘s debut was ace, but it feels as if the band have saved the best part of those sessions for this second album. While ‘Super Fancy Skeleton’ was a total freak out with lots of Kraut and Noise influences, this is something else. Longer and, arguably, freakier jams that are in parts so heavy as to pin you to the back of the wall, or so freaky as to question your own sanity. Yet there are also quieter and more reflective moments here too which allow you to catch your breath and reflect.
‘Tusk’ is a great noise track, short and to the point, while ‘Everyman’s Folly’ is a proper heavy slab of psych that pounds away at you like a sledgehammer. It is ‘Truth Machines’, however, where things get really interesting and, frankly, weird. It’s on this track in particular where you can appreciate the album’s concept where its throbbing electronics that gradually give way to some seriously good psych guitar. As the pace quickens you get the sense of losing control as the track speeds up then grinds to a shuddering halt. Out of this comes a more studied and sinister second part. This is as far away from the stürm and drang to the first two numbers as you can imagine. A simple repeating riff over veiled vocals gives this ‘movement’ an air of mystery which is gradually reconciled as the track coalesces into something more solid, yet with the same brain-burrowing theme running through it.
After that total mindfuck, ‘Xiphoid Revolution’ is a heavy fuzzy number with spoken word over it which really digs into your cranium. It’s an angry and visceral track with pounding drums that gets denser and more freaky as it progresses, and sounds like a weird drugged up paranoid meditation on the shock of finding the ‘Xiphoid’ (a growth that occurs at the base of the rib cage)… Again there is a sense of losing control as the sonics get heavier and looser… and those pounding drums just keep on going… You can tell that this is a live and improvised jam, in a good way!
Last up is ‘Stripes’. Again those pounding drums, this time combined with a deep deep bass which punctures your cranium. As with ‘Xiphoid Revolution’ the experimentalism gradually comes together into something more sturdy, but that bass… oh fuck that bass… is palpitating its way through the track in a way that could break a rib and snap that Xiphoid clean off.
Casual Nun have really stepped up with ‘Psychometric Testing by…’ and produced an album that begins like a heavy noise album but gradually, over the course of five tracks, deconstructs their sound into something fabulously experimental and totally fucked up. Listen to this album all the way through and you get it. It’s about loss of control, about the psychological permeation of influences into our lives which can leave us and society fucked. Yet another really good political album of which there seem to be an increasing number this year.
‘Psychometric Testing by Casual Num’ is expected to be released by Box Records on 27th March 2017, click here for more info.Follow me on Twitter @psychinsightmsc, Facebook and Instagram