The title page crumples and crackles in ashes with the sheet music for “Disco Eclipse” dripping down it in blood just ahead of the blast; this is the buzzing, screeching antique future hotwired dangerously back into life with some clipped earbud wires and a flint. I can swear I hear a bit of Rhapsody in Blue hiding in the basement of its main melody, but there’s a new message already overriding it in the morse-code rhythm of “Civilians,” hysteria hitting its marks as chunks of ceiling seem to crash to the piano keyboard at all the times fate had in mind. A discarded turntable arm gets catapulted into place, cutting a passionately shrieking Edith Piaf free from her prison of lacquer and dust, while fond echoes of accordion waft in from “Northern Boulevard” through the basement window that won’t stay slammed. Rattling up through the cracked concrete floor, ceremonial beats and sublime cries of “You My Love” rise from the secret tunnels the Incas built so Yma Sumac could make it to Queens. “Rolling on the Floor” while the piano stomps around her, head paranormal researcher and also a member Mary Knapp sings in the tongues of every madwoman genius and punk priestess and dancefloor divinity whose fire was ever drowned out, channeling so far back and ahead that she explodes in contact with herself and hears the sound of her own prophecy. Coffeehouse scriptures from one catacomb over crash through the “Fault Line”; “Bloody Murder” rides in down a subway cavern blaring brass whose way you can’t get out of. “Rainy Day” busks to the empty heavens upstairs while “Toot Suite” hums half-remembered silent-movie themes before giving up its own ghost. From “Playground Politics” and its dub doppelganger through “Sway” and “Bzzzness” to the aftershock of “Tread Softly Epilogue,” we’re in full-court invocation, the soul of rock ’n’ ritual called down and no demons driven out but welcomed in, each handed a trumpet or squeezebox or drum-program or highlife guitar to throw on the pyre. You can lower the roof or raise hell.
(photo: Manny Laqui)