[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
These last four years have been quiet for Black Lung. After 2010’s ‘The Soul Consumer’ it appeared that the mission had been completed, he’d made a record while subsisting entirely on human flesh. A rather strange stance for someone vegan, I’d say. But I should have known he’d find some new facets of paranoid melancholy in our technologically enslaved world to document. David Thrussell is best known for his continuing satirical project Snog, outside of that and for almost as long he’s been chronicling the debilitating effects of modern society on the individual as Black Lung. He’s also a member of the maddeningly vanished Soma who are not ever coming back. I’ve made my peace with this. I’m fine.
‘The Great Golden Goal’ changes up the sound of this project once again, almost imparting a catchy electronic flavor to it, but don’t be deceived or taken in by the sweetness of the first five songs on here. This is a Black Lung album and as such it has the duty to go deeply into arenas of thought and sound other projects would run screaming from. You’re not going to find the manic techno alienation his 90s records had in spades but you are going to get much more than merely beats and sampled noise. If there is a goal which Thrussell’s latest has in mind then that would have to be splitting apart at a subatomic level the connections between possessions and prestige. What ties one to another, in plainer terms: do the articles you own impart a feeling of arrival. Just because you get the latest hand-held abomination lacquered in chrome on the day of release, have you “made it”?
In our increasingly complicated and overwrought existence, finding the time to sit back and analyze just why it is we’re so encouraged to give no thought at all to the ramifications of our actions is almost impossible. Yet it can be done. You, sitting there reading this with multiple tabs open, stop. Minimize yourself in the online experience and see how it feels. Does your tactile awareness increase, maybe you start to value those around you who exist in real life outside this glowing screen with all it’s tantalizing offers. Black Lung offer us twelve compositions which get further and further away from anything orderly as this new one plays out. ‘The Great Golden Goal’ becomes almost playful once you get to the middle fourth of it; whimsical odes to the concepts of hype, consumption are amongst the weapons in the arsenal.
Because much like that Inquisition no one expects, the last few tracks on here are perfectly sequenced to bring us back face to face with the horrors which the era of trickle-down economics has bequeathed upon our world. A pyramid scheme indeed, although no one called it that in the press when the Gipper and his ilk pulled the wool over the eyes of the working class. An age of austerity is where we find ourselves now. Those of us who have chosen look up from the collective trough of consumerism’s vapid contentment and escape the gilded cage have goals of our own… as do Black Lung. While some protest overtly and others subvert from within the machine, Mr. Thrussell has left the poison pen letter in plain sight. Have all the cake you want kiddies, but don’t go pointing the finger at anyone but yourself when the nausea sets in.