Cover star Vladek Sheybal relaxes in front of the original Rorschach poetry blots

Rorschach Poetry

The Silk Society

Cemental Health Records EEG50

Recorded on:
PC (AWE32 and Roland SCD-15 daughterboard) and PortaStudio (Tascam 244)

The birds and the bees are all fucking in the trees
They donít care about disease or social stigma
They neither sow nor reap, they just go buzz and cheep,
And whence come all those sheep? Ė itís an enigma

The drone turns aside and he lights a Park Drive
And says, well, did that move the hive, my honey baby?
His queen eyes the dawn, and she stifles a yawn,
And to stop him droning on, she mumbles, "Maybe"

And I all the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Just sit here on my arse and sing

The bees and the birds are too sensuous for words
I mutter envious "merdes" into my gardening glove
I pray pretty, pretty, please, while inside my dungarees
A pair of educated fleas make torrid love


Joseph Rankspettle III reviews Rorschach Poetry*

Once in a lifetime comes an album that makes the likes of Radiohead's OK Computer drown in its own shit. Rorschach Poetry is that album. Frankly, if you haven't already bought it, you might as well buy a gun instead and shoot your worthless brains out.

Some readers will already be familiar with the oeuvre of Cemental Health Records. It's a majestic edifice of a label, one to make Creation quake in its boots and EMI dance around like a girl. However, CHealth's previous output is a mere pimple to the moist, rufous boil that is Rorschach Poetry. Shutters has teamed up with international playboiy and saviour of British theatre Richard Hurst, and the result is the most important album of 1998. Or any year. Yes, really.

I could spend all night dissecting each track, for there are layers and layers of Rousseauvian meaning here, but let's confine ourselves to a few standouts.

Surfing 'n' Drugs opens with that gorgeously tinny drum machine that has become the duo's trademark, then blossoms like a ronking orchid into the song that The Beach Boys would have written if they weren't utter crap.

I'd like to say something profound about I Don't Care To Think About You, but to recall even a single chord of this saddest of songs reduces me to tears, so I won't. Let's move on.

"I've got this thing about benches," croons the Captain Queeg of Pop as Side Two opens. And by the end of this song - an insidious mantra concerning shagging on outdoor furniture - so do we all. It's a singalong number for the Pinter generation, and quite, quite brilliant.

Inevitably, there's been a nod to the heartless world of commercial pop, and last year's stormer The Birds And The Bees is included here for the faithful. But wait! What's this, kids? Could it be a new arrangement? Prepare to be traumatised as the fuck-me-blind guitar aggro of the original is bent over a table and given a right old seeing-to. The result is Murph and the Magitones on extremely bad drugs. Yup, that good.

But let the hush descend for a moment, for we are approaching the nub, the pivot, the swivelling apotheosis of this monumental work of art.

Some Days is, simply, a masterpiece. Stairway To Heaven? Forget it. Champagne Supernova? Don't make me laugh. A Day In The Life? Suck my cock.

If you want grandeur, if you want sweep and scale, if you want a track that kisses your stereo on that sensitive bit at the back of the aerial, then runs its fingers all the way down the amplifier, offers a single red rose, a glass of champagne and a mint-flavoured condom with one hand while gently, gently flicking the Eject button with the other, then Some Days is the one for you. At 10 minutes and 21 seconds, it's even longer than the previous sentence. I hestitate even to call it a song. Instead, let us call it a post-apocalyptic epic to rival Brave New World in perspicacity and The Stand in sheer bloody length. The first few hours were agonising enough, but by the time the Silk boys began crooning about "the enzymes burning in the marble halls" [ENSIGNS, you deaf, sarky bastard! - I.S.], my ears were burrowing into my face, frantic for the comparative safety of my skull.

At which point, mercifully, the song ended.

Then it fucking started again!

A few weeks, a couple of tortured shrieks and a troglodyte choir later, I emerged - a torn, bleeding husk with an idiot smile the size of Belgium.

I was ready to quit, but wonder of wonders, I Don't Care To Think About You (slight return) tiptoed into the ether in a millennial Pet Shop Boys pure-pop-for-now-people kinda way and started me blubbing again.

Oh, God, I can't say any more. Buy this album. Even if you bought Do You Have A Younger Sister? and put a contract out on Shuttleworth the next day, buy it.

Buy it. Money's just paper, you know.

Peace and Love.

*This article was originally submitted to the NME, but they just laughed. It was transcribed by Paul Arendt, who, for the record, thought the album was "actually quite surprisingly not bad, in parts".

Sample backing tracks for download as Zipped MIDI files!