"Life's Bitch Tapestry" (Album, 1999)
I must admit that the band photos featured on the CD artwork didn't inspire me much, although the cover design was good enough. (Why do so many ugly people and nerds insist on forcing their visages upon us? I buy music to listen to not look at people's faces - but I didn't buy this since it was a review copy so I guess I shouldn't complain here). Anyway, I digress...
With track titles like Narcissist, 7 Year Bitch, My Superiority Complex and Drama Queen, it doesn't stretch one's imagination too far to take a stab at where this first Narcissus Pool album is coming from. Indeed, in the 'Thanks to' section it gives a nod and a wink to "the host of friends and enemies (current and ex) who gave us all these reasons to bitch!". Okay then, so I take it that I shouldn't be taking this too seriously. Still, despite all this and the presence of Ross Treganza - former cohort of 'comedy' digigoth groovers Sneaky Bat Machine (now Goteki), Life's Bitch Tapestry does offer something beyond the tongue-in-cheek, lets not take this music stuff seriously veneer.
The militaristic sleeve image might lead the uninitiated to believe that Narcissus Pool were a Northern English version of Funker Vogt, but far from it. The intention is clearly to have a good time producing a bunch of songs aimed at getting you to shake your thang or to amuse you with their unpretentious, honest and often funny lyrics. My favourite smile-inducing lines are from the opening track For Porno Use Only and go like this... "Jism junkie instigator. Getting ready to impregnate her. Monkey spanking filthy monster. Ride the sheet-stain roller-coaster." On the other hand, tracks like Parishioner White's Nazi Stormtroopers, about religion, not fascism, (they point out), prove that Narcissus Pool are fired up enough by things other than bitching about exes. The lyrics here attacking religion for its brainwashing of sheep desperate for guidance. Probably the best song on the album. The brief instrumental Seven Year Bitch is another highlight. Not sure how old the guys were when they wrote and recorded this debut, but a youthful vigor helps smooth over its various rough patches. This hardly throws down the avant garde gauntlet, but I don't imagine that idea ever entered their thoughts when they put Life's Bitch Tapestry together. Still, well worth a listen if you're into sample-based, darkwave digigoth. 6/10
Official Narcissus Pool website: http://www.razorbladebeat.co.uk