Review: Bad Suburban Nightmare + Left Hand Cuts Off The Right – Split

The guitar playing of Dan Hrekow (aka Bad Suburban Nightmare) is a musical response to dead air; a bluesy serenade feeding off of tape crackle, which forms a bleak and receding backdrop like light rain hammering a thin glass window. It’s a duet of acknowledged solitude – the point where one ceases to emit SOS’s into the ether and takes to monologues of solemn mortal acceptance instead, turning to the static as a friend: the one morsel of activity that prevents the guitar rebounding off of pure silence and death. The guitar collapses from sparse, high-end twangs into strange hydraulic noises falling down wells of delay, while the hiss of the tape remains constant; the reference point by which I track the guitar’s descent into emptiness.

In contrast, Left Hand Cuts Off The Right is a market place of sound – culturally undefined loops ripping at the seams, kalimba downpours, hand claps in a gymnasium, reverent wind chimes of feedback, accidental conversational clippings turned into infectious rhythms. It’s sometimes disturbing what one can collate into a musical whole. Where Bad Suburban Nightmare sounds painfully alone, LHCOTR is social to the point of sickness, dragging noises into begrudging (occasionally beautiful) company, like the grainy souvenirs of a geographically eclectic voyage forced to circulate on a merry-go-round until they trick themselves into enjoying it.