Death in June

The Brown Book

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AllMusic Review by Rolf Semprebon

Another slab of Douglas Pearce misanthropy, Brown Book doesn't veer too far from the apocalyptical folk of the earlier Nada! and The World That Summer, acoustic strumming guitars, rhythms that thud slowly like the marching footsteps of an army, and some weird electronics effects thrown in, while Pearce sings in his low voice. Though less absent than on The World That Summer, Current 93's David Tibet provides lead vocals on a couple tracks, the synth-driven "Punishment Initiation" and the calmer "Born Again," with its simple guitar riff, while Rose McDowall backs Pearce on several others, her high childlike voice adding a nice contrast to his deep drones, especially when they duet on the trumpet-fanfare punctuated "To Drown a Rose." Though it's not quite as obvious as the similarly themed "Down in the Willow Garden" from Boyd Rice's Music, Martinis and Misanthropy, one wonders why McDowall would sing either of these songs. There's also plenty of ammunition for Death in June's detractors, songs like "Runes and Men," "Touch Defiles," and especially the title track, which sounds like World War II German soldiers singing with a minimal amount of tape effects underneath. Crying babies, gunshots and screams, spoken word bits, and even the industrial "We Are the Lust," with vocals by Coil's John Balance, who co-wrote the piece, create another grimly disturbing soundtrack that is oddly beautiful in places.

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