You Kill Me

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On You Kill Me, Belgian Americana import Pascal Deweze waves farewell to the Gram Parsons-influenced orchestral pop that fueled his 2003 self-titled debut. With the help of producer John Morand (Sparklehorse and Camper Van Beethoven), Sukilove dives head first into a sea of angular noise pop with nary a look back, resulting in a collection of tunes that are frustratingly difficult to ingest upon first listen. The promising opener, "Start a Life," is the first indication of Deweze's metamorphosis from winsome pop balladeer to indie rock ironist. With its serpentine verses and junky hard-panned fuzz guitars, it takes a few times before it reveals its melodic center, but when it does, the rest of You Kill Me comes crashing into focus. This is late-night driving music disguised as catharsis -- Deweze must have been listening to a lot of Spoon, as tracks like "Girl on the Moon" and "1234" wouldn't have seemed out of place on Kill the Moonlight -- and Morand's heavy yet minimalist production owes a great deal to Mitchell Froom's work with acts like Los Lobos and Latin Playboys. You Kill Me is most effective when it tones down the overdriven clanging and super-compressed low end that seems virtually omnipresent throughout -- the hypnotic and mesmerizing "Woe" is a prime example, but too often the songs are set adrift amidst the chaos without any intention of retrieving them. In the end, You Kill Me is at least an interesting diversion, and Sukilove and Morand's singular vision is commendable, even if it falls short of reaching its intended sonic plateau.

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