Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Album review: “CAROUSEL FROM HELL”

MosaicAlbum review: “CAROUSEL FROM HELL”

Staff Writer

It’s been over a year since I first discovered the (unjustifiably) hidden gem that is Brooklyn artist Tommy Hayes, who is better known as, to quote their work, “LustSickF––ngPuppy.” I still remember how stunned I was at the sheer innovation of their 2023 single, “RIDE IT,” which features a beat co-produced by fellow digital hardcore band Machine Girl.

Goosebumps littered my arms when the song exploded into its chorus: “You could never leave me, believe me / You gone have to see me regardless / B—– I am the hardest goddess / F— it, I’m no longer being modest / Honest, you not on my level b—– / Novice,” which is rapped over a rhythm of erratic runs and the constant rumbling of bass. I can only describe the song as electric, not just in terms of its production, but also in how it sends a current through my body each and every time I listen to it.

Coming over two years after the release of their EP “AS HARD AS YOU CAN”  – which gave us masterpieces such as “BOY DESTROYER,” a track in which the entire song completely breaks before slowly picking up steam with an experimental backtrack that makes my brain feel like it’s melting – LustSickPuppy has graced their fans once more. This time, it’s 18 minutes of their incomparable penchant for creating music that forces listeners to question the limits of what music can be.

“CAROUSEL FROM HELL” is a ride that I never want to end.

This album, like the rest of LustSickPuppy’s discography, is abrasive, loud and dares you to dislike it for that. “CAROUSEL FROM HELL” opens with the blistering track, “OFF THIS,” in which LustSickPuppy sets the tone for their album with a story delivered in compelling staccato: “Open your eyes / One to three / It’s pitch black / Peel ya skin back / Push the seat back / Breathe into me / Blood pumping / Warning, danger.” 

The minute you press play, you’re in their realm – a world that demands you to surrender any and all preconceived notions on the definition of music. In a musical landscape overrun with commerciality, coerced inauthenticity and a general fear of standing out, LustSickPuppy assures listeners that “CAROUSEL FROM HELL” is not just an album; it’s a collection of authentic, genuine tracks that the music industry desperately needs more of.

LustSickPuppy is also unafraid to condemn the systems and critics who try to ensnare them (but frankly could never dream of succeeding). They continue in “OFF THIS,” rapping, “They wanna see a white boy behind the beat / Couldn’t believe that tha puppy in the seat / I got them hot like a puppy in the heat / Praying on my Ls like you wanna meet the beast.”

All of this comes over a breakneck beat, featuring heavy bass that acts as the foundation for a repeated buzzing effect that puts the dubstep of the late 2000s to shame. It’s in bars like these that my love for LustSickPuppy is grounded. They carry with them an ego that is so large and self-affirmed that it’s simultaneously intimidating and admirable. I want to be like them when I grow up.

The standout track from this album, and, in my opinion, LustSickPuppy’s best track to date, is “CHOKEHOLD,” which is the final song of the album. Immediately after pressing play, the beat throws itself in your face with about 200 BPM worth of rumbling bass and scratching noises blaring through your speakers.

Then, as if to counteract the unprecedented nature of the beat’s introduction, LustSickPuppy breaks into the most iconic (and relatable) rap sequence I’ve ever heard: “Blocked for so long / I forgot you existed / Get out my face / I’m no longer interested / Ducking n—– like I’m Neo in the black jacket / Oh I got them mad cuz I’m back and I’m back at it.”

LustSickPuppy carries this storyline into the chorus, rapping, “Now he on his knees plain obsessed with me / Baby please / Don’t be dissin’ me, you can’t impress me.”

LustSickPuppy’s sense of worth is the thread through which all their music is connected. They love themselves, they love their unique music and they invite you to do the same.

Or don’t. They don’t really care.

Another standout is “BLISSTER,” which instantly rips into a distorted guitar and drum fill with LustSickPuppy screaming “Feed from your betrayers / While Death invades / Peel back all of my layers / Feel my f—— rage.” 

In less than a second they switch to rapping over the same ear-splintering instrumental: “Wounds never heal when you rub them with salt / Putting you on timeout since you can’t be an adult / Love to play the victim when you do all the assault / You’re running out of lies to tell so bring it to a halt.” The marriage of metal and rap is not only daring, but impressive, and exhibits LustSickPuppy’s ability to inhabit whichever genre serves them best at any point in time.

As a nonbinary Black person, I find LustSickPuppy’s music incredibly liberating. 

Too often in the queer community do I feel confined to adhere to the stereotype of enjoying certain artists that are associated with masculine queer folks. No, I haven’t heard that one song that’s viral on TikTok. No, I don’t have a favorite “pop girlie.” And no, I don’t have a favorite Taylor Swift album.

LustSickPuppy’s music speaks to my innermost core value: to stand out as much as possible by any means necessary. The assumed impossibility of a chaotic blend of influences ranging from digital hardcore to rap, to rave and punk coming together to form something beautiful, let alone coherent, being proven wrong dares me to dream beyond the scope of possibility in my own life. 

LustSickPuppy’s sound is the gift that comes with doing whatever you want. While their music is certainly not for everyone, which unfortunately includes my friends when I have the AUX or my fellow writers during meetings at The Review, its ingenuity deserves respect if nothing else.

All of this boils down to an album that, like the rest of LustSickPuppy’s discography, has earned my unwavering adoration. The rush I get from LustSickPuppy’s work is unlike that from any other artist. They are a force that refuses to be defined by words, to the extent that they make our entire language feel obsolete when we attempt to confine them in it. From their unbridled confidence to their music that effortlessly blends influences from a myriad of genres, LustSickPuppy is an enigma with a sound that is so creative – so unapologetically genuine – that I find myself moved by the inability to clearly define their art, even outside the realm of music. 

“CAROUSEL FROM HELL” is a piece that has brought me further in touch with myself than any other album released in years. For 18 beautifully brutal minutes, I’m lucky to be able to hear the mind of a true artist – a mind that the world might be lagging too far behind to fully appreciate.

Not that being disliked or misunderstood would bother LustSickPuppy, of course. As they say themselves in the track “EVICTION,” “Like before you even wake up in the morning / T-o-m-m-y be the first thing on your mind / Like I know you sick / Didn’t brush your teeth didn’t wash your face / Didn’t even pick out your outfit for the day / And the first thing you thinking about is me / B—– that’s crazy / I feel like you should get your priorities in check / But I feel like that’s hard to do when I am the priority / So I get it, I would be a hating a— b—– too if I wasn’t me.”

Maybe I’ll make this the mantra I recite in the mirror each day. Just, you know, with “P-e-r-c-y” instead.




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