April 18th, 2011 | Album reviews

geoff geis

Travis Cthulhu just got a whole lot more sinister on The Cthulhus’ third CD-R release, EVAPR8. This collection of sci-fi sound poems, strung together with bedroom rock, bent electronics and musique concrète, sounds less like Wavves and more like Trout Mask Replica or early Zappa, with perhaps an assist from Bruce Haack on drum machines, which could easily be lifted from a Baldwin ’70s home organ. There are a lot more fast guitars on here than on, say, Jesse Rakusin’s Awaken! projects, but the end result is still psychedelic, brooding and ominous, a Cramps-meets-Robotech bike ride down a slippery slope. “Blood runs red round the honey pot,” Cthulhu sings in “The honey pot, the honey pot,” a cascade of oscillations sliced open by a sitar-tinged backwards-masked guitar, then an alarm, and then commands straight out of 1984: “Don’t speak, don’t even breathe/Don’t say a single word about anything that you believe.” The song titles alone, from “1000 Missiles” to “Nothing Works” to “WASP17” (named after a rare planet that spins against the revolution of its star), point to things going very, very wrong. And then there are the lyrics about broken eyes and nuclear-tested goats with peeling skin. “Mixed messages, dissipations, radiate the loss of a forward momentum” he whispers in “the TRANSAMERICAN.” Travis could be describing his own album, but really, he’s describing our future. No wonder the last song on the album is “No hope.”

—Dan Collins