Review: The Locust

The Locust
“Plague Soundscapes”

The Locust are one of those strange things that don’t emerge into the mainstream very often.  Aspects of the underground are always infiltrating and eventually becoming the mainstream; like the way a bunch of kids will move into a gnarly part of town and within a few years there’s a Starbucks and a bunch of yuppies pushing rent through the roof.

The Locust don’t work like that.  They are an anomaly.  Instead of becoming more compromising or accessible they’re becoming more extreme and terrifyingly precise in the way they’re taking apart everything “rock band” or even “punk” has meant so far.

They are not an inviting project.  They aren’t trying to seduce half-assed people who take culture in on recreational levels.  The Sex Pistols and Nirvana were essentially pop bands, despite their modest amount of envelope pushing (mostly pre-accomplished by lesser-known artists who preceded and inspired them).  Not that there’s anything “wrong” with that.  Those bands are great.  Pop can be great.

But the Locust are one of those bands who have become popular almost in spite of themselves.  It’s a huge “fuck you” to everything we perceive as normal, or even useful, and the kids are even saying “fuck you” back half the time, but they keep wanting more.  They’re getting something genuine out of it.

Frequently on levels they might not consciously perceive.  It’s not a swindle.  This is incredibly difficult, elaborate music that wasn’t contrived as a joke.  The Locust are not pandering to the “closet punk” tastes of corporate types slumming around on the internet.  It’s like the difference between reading Kerouac or Bukowski and thinking you’re pushing some kind of boundaries within yourself and then reading something really challenging and progressive like William Burroughs or Kathy Acker.

Listening to “Plague Soundtracks” is like reading Naked Lunch or Empire of the Senseless.  It’s sickening and invigorating and beautiful all at the same time.  Something that feels almost opaque when you first confront it, but gives way to a realm of previously unknown sensational capacities if you let it in and move through.

The Locust are breaking themselves and they’re trying to break you.  If you’re scared, turned off or just bored then you probably need it more than you know.