Have A Nice Life


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Deathconsciousness (2008), 7/10
Nahvalr (2008), 5/10
The Unnatural World (2014), 5.5/10
Giles Corey: Giles Corey (2011), 7.5/10
Black Wing: Is Doomed (2015), 6.5/10
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Connecticut's duo Have A Nice Life concocted an unlikely hybrid of My Bloody Valentine's shoegaze-pop, Joy Division's dark-punk, Godspeed You Black Emperor's post-rock, Nine Inch Nails' industrial dirges, and the Swans' proto-doom on the double-disc Deathconsciousness (Enemies List, 2008). The first disc, subtitled "The Plow That Broke The Plains", begins with eight minutes of electronic swirls (A Quick One Before The Eternal Worm Devours Connecticut). Martial drums and piercing guitars announce the elegiac Bloodhail. The ten-minute dirge Hunter is one of the emotional peaks (or, better, nadirs). It is shouted and wailed on a sparse soundscape of piano and drums until a strong beat and acid guitar twangs propel it into a dance-punk frenzy. Telephony is one of the shorter and bleaker songs, a monastic hymn against a petulant guitar. At the other end of the spectrum, Who Would Leave Their Son Out In The Sun? is a gentle psychedelic lullabye. The first disc ends with There Is No Food, a mournful litany whispered over a bed of guitar distortions. The second disc, subtitled "The Future", starts out with the hard-rocking riff and steady beat of Waiting For Black Metal Records To Come In The Mail, the most anthemic song on the album and the one that harks back to the 1980s in the most blatant manner. The other aggressive song on this disc, The Future, is a direct descendant of the new wave, in particular of Pere Ubu's "modern dance". Another icon of the 1980s surfaces in the simple psalm Holy Fucking Shit - 40,000: it's the electronic beat of Trio's Da Da Da, although it morphes into a hummable keyboard refrain. Both this feeble beat and the humble singing are swallowed by a loud industrial bacchanal. The most sinister piece, the instrumental Deep Deep, moves again to the other end of the musical spectrum: mostly a guitar distortion that hovers over a distant organ melody and little else. I Don't Love is another cryptic moment: a confused vortex of distortions and vocals that does not lead anywhere. The eleven-minute Earthmover closes the album with an acid ballad at a slow pace that suddenly soars in a shoegazing apotheosis. The amount of symbols is overwhelming. The two discs run a vast gamut of emotional states and musical styles. Each of these pieces could be an entire career for less gifted musicians.

Nahvalr (Enemies List, 2008) was an experiment by Have A Nice Life: the album was entirely built out of music provided by fans.

Voids (2009) compiles two EPs.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Claudio Vespignani)

Il duo Have A Nice Life, del Connecticut, ha architettato un ibrido improbabile fra lo shoegaze-pop dei My Bloody Valentine, il dark-punk dei Joy Division, il post-rock dei Godspeed You Black Emperor, le nenie industriali dei Nine Inch Nails e il proto-doom degli Swans nel doppio Deathconsciousness (Enemies List, 2008). Il primo disco, sottotitolato "The Plow That Broke The Plains", inizia con otto minuti di vortici elettronici (A Quick One Before The Eternal Worm Devours Connecticut). Ritmica marziale e chitarre penetranti annunciano l’elegiaca Bloodhail. La nenia di dieci minuti di Hunter è uno dei picchi emotivi (o per meglio dire, uno dei punti più bassi). Si tratta di urla e gemiti su uno scarno sostegno di piano e batteria fino a quando il battito pesante e delle vibrazioni di chitarra acida lo spingono verso la frenesia del dance-punk. Telephony è una delle canzoni più tristi, un inno monastico su chitarra insistente. Dall’altro estremo, Who Would Leave Their Son Out In The Sun? è una tenera ninna-nanna psichedelica. Il disco termina con There Is No Food, litania funebre sussurrata sopra un tappeto di distorsioni chitarristiche.

Il secondo disco, sottotitolato “The Future”, comincia col riff hard-rock e il ritmo costante di Waiting For Black Metal Records To Come In The Mail, il pezzo più stentoreo dell’album nonché quello che riecheggia gli anni ’80 nel modo più sfacciato. L’altro pezzo aggressivo, The Future, è un diretto discendente della new-wave, in particolare dei Pere Ubu di Modern Dance. Un’altra immagine degli ’80 affiora nel semplice salmo di Holy Fucking Shit - 40,000: non è altro che il beat elettronico di Da Da Da dei Trio, benché mutato in un fraseggio mormorato di tastiera. Sia il flebile ritmo che il canto sommesso vengono sommersi da un chiassoso fracasso industriale. Il pezzo più sinistro, lo strumentale Deep Deep, ritorna all’altro estremo del sound, con principalmente una distorsione di chitarra che si libra su una melodia distante di organo e poco altro. I don’t love è un altro momento criptico; un confuso vortice di chitarre e voci che non portano da nessuna parte. Gli undici minuti di Earthmover chiudono il disco con un acida e lenta ballata che all’improvviso si eleva ad esplosione shoegaze. La quantità di simbolismi è impressionante. I due dischi coprono un ampia gamma di stati emotivi e stili musicali. Ciascuno dei singoli pezzi potrebbe costituire un intera carriera per musicisti meno dotati.

Nahvalr (Enemies List, 2008), è un esperimento: il disco è stato interamente ricavato da musica inviata dai fans.

Voids (2009) assembla due EP.

Have A Nice Life's Dan Barrett, disguised as Giles Corey, documented the nervous depression that almost led him to commit suicide on the acoustic tour de force Giles Corey (Enemies List, 2011 - The Flenser, 2016). The album, mostly played only on the guitar, is an esoteric concept performed like some kind of bedroom psychedelic-folk music. The eight-minute The Haunting Presence evokes dark hooded ceremonies with martial percussion and disjointed shouting of multiple voices in cavernous spaces. The interlocked echoes of I'm Going To Do It evoke Simon & Garfunkel performing in a medieval monastery (with a surreal break of industrial buzz and found voices). The anemic chant in the eight-minute No One Is Ever Going To Want Me is accompanied by funereal drones and ominous ticking; it seems to be dying quietly and desperately when suddenly it picks up a pounding rhythm and turns into a fanfare of sorts, with the voice shouting defiant. The drunk singalong Spectral Bride morphs into a waltzing country-rock and into a stately funeral march replete with mournful trumpet. The a-cappella Grave Filled With Books is not a chant but a nebula of resignation. It's hard not to think of the other Barrett, Syd Barrett, when listening to these desolate otherworldly songs, for example when, after three minutes, the singalong Blackest Bile picks up a marching-band drumbeat, or when, again Buried Above Ground, intones a horn fanfare at marching tempo.

Barret was also active as Black Wing, a project documented on Is Doomed (2015), a less depressed and more electronic album. In fact, Barrett's lament is buried under layers of synths in the nightmarish crescendo of Death Setences. If I Let Him In is synth-pop for anguished souls and ends in industrial-metal mayhem. My Body Betrayed Me (originally a 2013 single feels like Brian Eno's Before and After Science updated to the angst of Nine Inch Nails.

Have A Nice Life sounded like a different (more trivial) act on The Unnatural World (Enemies List, 2014), dabbling in gothic rock of the 1990s (Lycia and the Scandinavian "cold wave") with lugubrious songs such as Guggenheim Wax Museum or paying tribute to the Sisters Of Mercy with a new version of Defenestration Song. The Buddhist chant Music Will Untune The Sky has little to ingratiate itself. The chaotic, distorted and gallopping Cropsey could be the centerpiece if it weren't so amateurish (and preceded by two minutes of spoken word, for no apparent reason other than to add two minutes to the duration of the piece). Emptiness Will Eat The Witch is simply nine minutes of agonizing laments.

Dan Barrett's side-project Giles Corey released Deconstructionist (Enemies List, 2012), contained three lengthy pieces accompanied by a booklet on the history of trance. This was not meant as a regular album but as a work "designed to induce trances, possession states, and out-of-body experiences". Live in the Middle of Nowhere (Enemies List, 2013) documents a live Giles Corey performance with some Have a Nice Life songs (Deep Deep, Earthmover) and some new songs (Guilt Is My Boyfriend. The Icon and the Axe, Wounded Wolf).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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