Alvarius B. - With A Beaker On The Burner And An Otter In The Oven, Vol. 3: Heathen Folklore LP


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Label: Abduction

Our Review:

Here donning his Alvarius B. persona, Alan Bishop returns with a trilogy of albums, all recorded from 2014-2017 in Egypt with various members of Cairo's Invisible Hands and the Master Musicians Of Bukakke.

Alan, his brother Richard Bishop and Charlie Goucher were the legendary Sun City Girls - the outsider free-noise / ethno-punk outfit that deliberately confused the unenlightened and frustrated their die-hard fans. In any given set of recordings, glorious melodies and teasingly brilliant psychedelic hooks would erupt with a thousand ideas culled from the world's songbook: Morricone's serpentine drama, John Leyton's murder ballad / pop glory, Trịnh Cong Son's torrid simplicity and Omar Korhseid's non-occidental rock'n'roll passion. Yet at the same time, the Sun City Girls thrived on undermining any given perception as avant-rock geniuses with their impish humor that angrily jabbed with a misanthropic bile. Those who love the Sun City Girls may have come to an understanding to disagree with the politics of these jokes, but there's a recognition that the Girls needed to shove back at polite lefty-liberal society.

Charlie Gocher died in 2007, and the Bishop brothers dissolved the Sun City Girls in honor of their partner. Many of the ideas continue unabated in the Bishop brothers' solo careers. Alan Bishop, especially as Alvarius B., comes the closest to manifesting the panoply of horror and glee found in the Sun City Girls, leading us here to these three volumes of With A Beaker On The Burner And An Otter In The Oven, which are filled suitably filled with a trove of horror and glee.

Across the three albums, Bishop crafts effortless reconstructions of a century's worth of folk-rock-blues idioms through his slack acoustic-guitar splutter. His songs alternate between the sensible and the snarling in varying ratios across the trilogy. It may be true that the first volume is the most "melodic, savvy" of the three as Bishop quipped in his thorny press releases, but his bitter melodic croon persists throughout the trilogy. It may be true that Alan believes the second volume to be his favorite. It may also be true that the final album may be the most problematic of the lot, but when is an Alan Bishop project not problematic? Art should never be easy.

Alvarius B. on With A Beaker On The Burner And An Otter In The Oven, Vol. 3: Heathen Folklore:

"Serial killing was one of history's greatest art forms. Now it's becoming almost impossible to get a skull-drilling startup off the ground unless you murder for the corporations or governments where you have highly organized protection from any enforceable law but at the expense of sacrificing all the glory for the anonymity required to maintain employment. So, unfortunately, the days of any zit topography random commoner being able to string together a few killings to hit the big time before being caught has almost come to an end. Sad. This record, the third and final volume of my new three-LP set called Heathen Folklore, could serve as somewhat of a manual of inspiration on how one could start such a career, as risky and unpopular as it is. It gets much more fucked-up than the previous two LPs, and sometimes I think it's the best one due to that aspect. I'd have to give it one more listen but I also think this is the LP with coded messages that could trigger an unsuspecting listener to start his/her career in extreme behavior. But killing isn't everything you know. There are many more ways to express yourself and reach the top of the charts these days. In fact, I saw Burt Bacharach three weeks ago gripping a huge fucking machete while chasing modern dance music architects off his champion ship and into deep water where they hopefully became shark bait. And to set the record straight, Jimi Hendrix did not fake his death and become Morgan Freeman nor was Hunter S. Thompson directing snuff films. But most of that other weird shit you hear about these days is probably true. And I'm working on a film called Being Alvarius B. where all of you loser fucks crawl into my brain and see yourselves from my perspective and then commit collective suicide because you finally realize I was right all along. And I am. Can't wait to make more albums so I can write these album descriptions. Cocksuckers."

One-time pressing. Includes printed inner sleeve with lyrics and credits.

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