Locktender – Kafka Locktender – Kafka

Locktender - Kafka (2013)

Locktender – Kafka (2013)

Last Tuesday, I listened to Locktender’s first full-length, Kafka for something like three hours straight and got unexpectedly (some might say, alarmingly) drunk in the process. I’m not sure why, exactly, though I am inclined to blame the relentless fucking daylight of new summer nights.

I tried to annotate the experience as a sort of meta-corporeal review but about half way through the binge, my penmanship began edging towards a rickety Sanskrit and by the end it was all Voynichian nonsense.

And that’s just unprofessional.

Something of a shame, too, because there is a thoughtful savagery at play in the music of Locktender that lends itself well to the over-wrought thoughts of a man, alone and broken off from inhibitions, that rips straight through to the meat of an organism desperate for meaning and provides it the plodding roars, crescendos and rattling chaos its catharsis requires. Or, as one of the few salvageable sentences from the earlier text explains “(the band’s) epic sonic tomes deftly confuse the train wreck obfuscating rage of Coalesce and the prism pained and painted post rock end game of Explosions in the Sky.”

That is not to say, of course, that Kafka is a record that demands intoxication. Yes, at its heart beats a determination vested in the emotive triggers of hardcore, which plays best to the id before the intellect but the lyrics and conceptual pretense that help elevate the album above and beyond so many Faulknerian punk fucking deconstructionists demand the sober mourning of a poet’s mind.

You see, the title of the album is not just some clever postmodern allusion. All the tracks on the record are named after five of the 109 “aphorisms” written by Franz Kafka during his winter (1917-1918) spent in the Czech city of Zürau (published posthumously as The Zürau Aphorisms). Each song quotes its namesake directly (save “Aphorism 103”) and several offer liberal expositions on the text, taking Kafka’s obtuse/obscure revelations on the nature of the self in relation to the other, the every, God and art and the universe all riddling in a vortex of promise just outside the grasp of one frail man in the darkness of doubt and provides them a vulgar eloquence of defiant passion.

Take “Aphorism #63.”

Kafka’s text reads “Our art is an art that is dazzled by truth: the light shed on the rapidly fleeing grimace is true – nothing else is.” Locktender offers (in part) “is the content, by which I form / bound in chains of entity? / yet and how many times are we forced / to fake it / what you say matters & how you say it matters more / more often now are we force-fed farce while sitting / on our laurels / this should give us license to scream / FUCK YOU from the highest mountain!”

I’d love to tell you about “Aphorism #16” but I can’t do so without weeping. Even in the blue light of morning there is much of this record that brings me to tears. Melissa tells me its consuming me, that I am losing myself to the artistic anarchy like I did in my first month with Fucked Up’s magnum opus, David Comes to Life.

And she’s right.

“I write this to you in a hurry, hoping desperately to force Locktender’s impressions down in a few hundred words before I succumb to the terrifying strength of the band or, worse yet (perhaps), the achingly cryptic poetry that forged the source material from which the band has torn and bore their first full artistic statement.”

Kafka is the end of”

Kafka Tracklist:

01. Aphorism #17
02. Aphorism #16
03. Aphorism #87
04. Aphorism #63
05. Aphorism #103

Locktender - Kafka, reviewed by Charles on 2013-07-01T03:33:23-07:00 rating 4.1 out of 5

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