George Korein and the Spleen - Denouemort

7 songs
26:18 minutes
***** ***


One canít deny that George Korein wasnít busy with his project The Spleen the last few months. In the span of a year and a half, he released six short albums under that moniker, from Ninety Mares in October 2018 to Denouemort in March 2020. This new and last one has a fitting title, being a pun on the word "dťnouement", which is the final part of a film or a play, and "mort", the French word for death, the latter being something like a leitmotif here.

Denouemort begins with the short Drowning In A Helicopter, a thoughtful ballad about how one was often unable to check on the veracity of news before the age of the internet. There are guest musicians on acoustic, lap steel and pedal steel guitar. The song starts quiet enough before building into a moving crescendo, courtesy of some backing vocalists. This is George Korein doing his finest pop craftmanship. The next two tracks have a certain metal flair. 40 Degrees Forever sounds like Sonic Youthís Thurston Moore jamming with Sunn O))), this being a gloomy drone piece with kind of nihilistic lyrics. Halfway To Boiling feels more like an experimental industrial / black metal hybrid with distorted vocals, but the latter half of the track introduces a melancholic piano part overlaid over the drones.

Which bring us to the albumís middle piece, Little House In Amber, PA, a really sad but maybe also self-ironic ballad about finally installing your family in the suburbs. Itís the track with the longest lyrics, and while at first it sounds a little simple, youíll soon understand that itís this repetition of melody that is an analogy for the daily routines of adult life. The next two tracks employ rather well-known drummers. On Elapse we get to hear Thymme Jones of cult avant prog band Cheer-Accident, but donít expect any proggy shenanigans as this is a rather noisy and repetitive track with strange lyrics consisting of single words that are hard to make sense of. The instrumental Bury It features Steve Honoshowsky (No Use For Humans) on drums and Jesse Sparhawk on harp, and is a surprisingly accessible piece of music. The album ends with the short What Was There, another incredibly truly sad piece of music that reminds me of Debussyís Claire de Lune.

It must have cost George Korein a lot of effort to release more than three hours of music in the course of eighteen months, and while at times one might wonder if a more concentrated album would have rendered a more accessible best-of album, itís eventually Koreinís unbridled knowledge of so many different music genres that made listening to these six short albums a rewarding experience. I am already looking forward to what comes next.

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