Too Weird To Live
Swiss Dark Nights
Czech newcomers Decent Ruins don’t lack for moxie. Taking a scattershot approach to a range of sounds tangentially related to industrial, the duo sneer and yowl their way through Too Weird To Live, piecing together electro-industrial, darkwave, witch house, and even hints of modern hip-hop production while presenting an acerbic nihilism worthy of Céline. It’s a mean and brief bit of listening, but one which leaves an impression long after its sub-30 minute run-time passes.
Despite the obvious interest in current lo-fi darkwave shown on opening track “The Path”, Decent Ruins are omnivorous bastards, buttressing their woozy synths with percussion which feels halfway between martial industrial and any number of Kendrick tracks. That trend continues apace, with the band welding now-vintage witch house style atmospherics to a half-time black metal breakdown on “…Heart”. Making a solid bid for club play, “YLMN” sitting somewhere between Visitor and early 3Teeth with its slinky, stuttery groove which should appeal to both 90s rivetheads and younger fans of current beat-driven darkwave.
Just as much as their musical influences, Decent Ruins are defined on Too Weird To Live by a bleak and slightly surreal fatalism which sits somewhere between Kafka and the source of the record’s title, Hunter S. Thompson. “I will shave you like a sheep / Then you will be hanged for disbelief”, the band intones with mock solemnity. That image of modern life effectively being a hangman carries through to “Give Up”, which describes the perfunctory execution that awaits us all after a lifetime in service to capital. Even facing that inevitability, the band rises to the challenge of existentialism: “We always did, we always tried, we always failed but we are still alive” (Beckett’s “fail better”, and all that). That caustic wit, in tandem with their genre-mashing, thus puts them in the very select company of sadly departed French music-terrorists Chrysalide.
Too Weird To Live is a roughly produced listen, with some of the details of its programming being lost in the mix, and vocals occasionally being ill-served by the recording. Sure, that’s part of the charm, but Decent Ruins are a band who clearly have enough ideas and broad tastes that one is curious as to what they’ll sound like a little while down the road. If the casual resignation to the fall of civilization to which their name points is any indication – ‘They’re good ruins, I suppose. Not great, but decent.’ – they’ll be gleefully sauntering down it, with a quip at hand for the inevitable executioner.