Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps Is the Overture for a New Era of Controlled Bleeding
There is much to admire about a band that’s been around for forty years with seemingly countless releases that touch on almost every conceivable genre. But more than anything else, Controlled Bleeding deserve admiration for their devotion to their whims. In 1990, the band released Trudge on the famous Wax Trax! label. Rather than exploiting this visibility with more industrial dance music, Controlled Bleeding followed up with collections of peculiar dark ambient music (Golgotha, 1991) and excruciating power electronics (Plem Bag Spattered, 1990).
This is how it goes with Controlled Bleeding. Examining their catalog, and taking into account the various side projects that tend to include the same personnel, it’s impossible to ever say exactly what kind of music it is that Controlled Bleeding make. As Paul Lemos, the last core band member still alive, has said, Controlled Bleeding’s sound is essentially whatever he “deems it to be.” In interviews, Lemos has offered various explanations for the band’s stylistic itinerancy: short attention spans, low tolerance for boredom, or lack of technical skill. However, this self-effacement is undermined by the fact that Controlled Bleeding are completely reliable, never failing to craft interesting music of high quality no matter what genre they choose to attack.
Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps—the most recent release by Controlled Bleeding, coming twelve years after their last full album (Can You Smell the Rain Between)—presents a less-explored facet of the band with songs that have almost (but not quite) conventional structures to them. Many of the tunes are fast-paced, driven by tight, urgent grooves, and colored in with Lemos’ vehement guitar work. But as energized as these songs are, they are a long way from the aggression of the band’s previous rock-oriented work, such as the Skin Chamber material that Controlled Bleeding members issued in the early nineties.
There are a few detours from the double album’s main sound. “As Evening Fades” is an ambient piece with some new age flavor in it. “Trang’s Song” is a jazzy number featuring the vocals of Trang—an occasional contributor to the band. These songs could slip past the inattentive listener, but it is impossible to miss the centerpiece of the album: “The Perks of Being a Perv,” a tense twenty-three-minute convulsion broken up periodically by miniature sound sculptures. It’s long but not long-winded, noisy but still listenable, and weird enough to affirm that Controlled Bleeding are still on a path that’s all their own.
This release on ArtOfFact Records comes alongside the gradual reissue (on CD and colored vinyl) of a good portion of Controlled Bleeding’s catalog by the same label. With new personnel and a continued variation of style, Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps could be the overture of a new era for Controlled Bleeding—a chance to revisit the band’s wide, deep past while enjoying the anticipation of where their whims might take them next.
01) Driving Through Darkness
02) Carving Song
03) Trawler’s Return
04) As Evening Fades
05) The Perks of Being a Perv
01) Return of the Quiet
02) Fusion Song
04) Garage Dub
05) Trawler’s Song
06) Eye of Needle
07) Trang’s Song
Written by: Matthew Carey
Label: ArtOfFact Records (Canada) / AOF261CD / 12″ LP, CD
Industrial / Noise / Dark Ambient
Review originally published here: