John Maus : A Collection Of Rarities And Previously Unreleased Material
Retro-pop fetishist John Maus sports a knack for saying things that don’t really need saying (here on I Don’t Eat Human Beings) and things that shouldn’t need saying, but unfortunately still do (Rights For Gays from Love Is Real). In the live setting, Maus is beset by despair. The often hopeless and paranoid themes of his work manifest into arresting displays of physical contortion with the actual musical performance being relegated to barely an afterthought.
A Collection Of Rarities And Previously Unreleased Material is a title devoid of metaphor, in line with Maus’s penchant for the perfunctory. Spanning the course of a decade, the record remains surprisingly cohesive thanks to some deft remixing by Maus. Tracklisting isn’t dictated by chronology, but is arranged with some sense of thematic thread. The aforementioned I Don’t Eat Human Beings performs brilliantly as a soaring closing point.
Darker territories are explored with the self-effacing Big Dumb Man, and the brilliant Mental Breakdown. My Hatred Is Magnificent reduces the titular emotion into a molecular level over an otherwise benevolent pop beat. Fish With Broken Dreams, a track recorded in 1999 (the oldest on the collection), is Maus at his most dramatic – a curious precedent to the more inhibited tensions on his later work.
While last year’s outstanding We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves was a levelled, and ultimately triumphant, statement, this collection acts as an indiscriminate cerebral bore into the terrible, dark psyche of a genius. A more than worthwhile garnish to Maus’s genius triptych of studio LPs.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
Best Track: No Title (Molly)
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Mature Themes ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI, Love Is Real JOHN MAUS
In A Word: Complementary