Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa / Arrington de Dionyso

Open the Crown

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Olympia, Washington and K Records mainstay Arrington de Dionyso is one of the true machines of his indie rock circles, standing out as a shamanistic possessed preacher in a field of shy strummers and awkwardly mumbling twee-poppers. After being the only constant member of his ever-touring, ever-burning skronk-punk project Old Time Relijun for over 15 years, de Dionyso explored circular breathing, throat singing, and trancy drone music for a while before combining all of these elements into a full band with Malaikat Dan Singa. Open the Crown, the third proper release from the project, is somehow both their most accessible and most adventurous. Clearer production homes in on the post punk-informed elements of the band, with tracks like "There Will Be No Survivors" and the relentless title track taking cues from the Pop Group's echoey repetition, PiL's vacant chaos, or the more explosive This Heat moments. De Dionyso's vocals are always a focal point as he dips from anguished Nick Cave-isms to deep-throated bellowing somewhere between Captain Beefheart and Tuvan throat singing. Flipping from the pulsing, heavy meditation of "The Akedah (The Moon Is Full)" to "Jiwa Dari Jiwaku," de Dionyso also flips languages, interspersing English lyrics among Indonesian, the language all other Malaikat Dan Singa songs were sung in prior to this album. The record rides a burning high for the entire duration, with Angelo Spencer's angular guitar lines and Ben Kapp's hypnotic drumming supporting Arrington's unhinged ranting, blurty horns, and throaty yelps. The only misstep comes in the faux-rap of closer "I Manipulate the Form'd and the Formless," which rides the line between confusing and embarrassing as de Dionyso rhymes metaphysically over a less than funky Casio beat. With this one glaring exception, Open the Crown is a high point in de Dionyso's vast discography, and the culmination of all that led up to it.

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