Puce Mary The Spiral Posh Isolation
A hollow signal closes in. A claustrophobic, clawing scrape. The Spiral takes hold with a dull thud. A thud that repeats and rests behind a grey curtain of static. There’s a moment of silence before Frederikke Hoffmeier places her feet on more familiar ground on Night Is A Trap II. The Copenhagen-based producer will have approached her third full-length as Puce Mary with the weight of expectation on her shoulders. The expectation being that Hoffmeier’s industrial noise experiments will have reached a zenith.
While The Spiral begins with a slow clasp, the album is at its most affecting on tracks like The Temptation To Exist with its unsettling, Penderecki-mimicking strings and all-too-human ambience. This uncomfortable anthropology is present too in Hoffmeier’s words. “Their skin will start softening, coming off / and they will frantically scratch their faces and peel themselves like oranges,” she whispers on Enter Into Them while her visceral soundscape crashes and echoes behind her, her voice, eventually, engulfed entirely. These moments of unexpected empathy are occasionally over-shadowed by the various, perhaps unavoidable, cliches of Puce Mary’s particular brand of noise. The megaphoned vocals on The Actor fall towards pastiche, for example. Yet, as the album reaches its aptly titled closer, Slow Agony of A Dying Orgasm, Hoffmeier’s hackneyed yells emerge from a different place. This time they occupy a space beneath an agitated thud of hammered metal which pounds its way to a shrill anti-climax.
The Spiral straddles the extremes of courage and vulnerability. Its creator revels in existential horror to great effect. As an artist on the brink of self-discovery, Hoffmeier’s intangible zenith seems somewhat irrelevant at this point. The best, as they say, is yet to come.