Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World

Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World (2014)

Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World (2014)

Have a Nice Life (HANL from here) is a band of two men (Dan and Tim) who exist in this world just like you and I and the millions of others like us. They have hopes and dreams and jobs and love and dogs and faces, recognizable to friends and acquaintances. They eat and drink and laugh and sigh and rage and do what they can to make it through the day. They’re people, plain and simple. But they weren’t always. Not to me.

When I first began listening to Deathconsciousness (HANL’s debut), when I devoured On an Obscure Text (the accompanying booklet) so deeply and furiously that I emailed the “author” (whose contact was later redacted) in hopes of validating The Book of Terror and Longing and the truth of severed crows, when I shared the bands name for weeks and months and days with anyone who would listen (and there were many), when I bought the record again and again and every package came with a note of thanks from Dan, when I saw the band mark their live debut at The Stone with a desperate exorcism…even then, I didn’t see them as men but as crippled shadows of New England cast in unforgiving skin. Specters cast from the Puritan madness. White Oak effigies.

But now, they’re present…at least, apparent (through Giles Corey, Pitchfork, etc.) and that makes listening to The Unnatural World a challenge I didn’t expect because inasmuch as I enjoyed/enjoy the music of HANL what really roped me into their purpose was the mystery that shrouded the monolith and what a privilege it was to unravel.

Without that, HANL is just a band and The Unnatural World is just another one of their records. That’s not true at all. I’m just being glib to try and divorce myself from all those treasured midnight minutes.

Here’s the hard Monday truth:

The Unnatural World is a handsomely adequate extension of the all-too-brief HANL canon. Well-ensconced in the concrete shoes of noisome bedroom gloom that made Deathconsciousness so affecting, The Unnatural World creeps through the missing distance between post rock, post punk and Corwood’s frozen orchards. It is a good record, a goddamn good record, in fact that speaks volumes for the alienated, educated many stimulated past the point of psychic collapse. It is crisper than the band’s previous endeavors, however. Louder. More adept, perhaps. The bass rings out like Peter Hook unfurled, fretless and battered and there are moments where the vocals soar to something threatening open and beatific and those factors rattle a significant difference. They give the record the impression that it wants to be heard not just by the hundred few chasing the witch into the enigma but by anyone…maybe.

And that’s a hard notion to reconcile from such an intimate engagement.

But you know what? Fuck me and fuckin’ a for them. HANL, unlike so many bands who’ve been lifted drunk on boorish acclaim, deserves to be welcomed into the great, cultural maw. Art has the right to exist beyond the pale of slavish devotion, to be recognized and thrive free from the comforts of obscurity.

The Unnatural World Tracklist:
01 – Guggenheim Wax Museum
02 – Defenestration Song
03 – Burial Society
04 – Music Will Unntune the Sky
05 – Cropsey
06 – Unholy Life
07 – Dan and Tim, Reunited by Fate
08 – Emptiness Will Eat the Witch

Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World, reviewed by Charles on 2014-02-04T04:40:56-08:00 rating 4.2 out of 5

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