Since her early releases with fellow Denmark residents Posh Isolation, Frederikke Hoffmeier has moved from strength to strength. Her Puce Mary project has been praised in broad circles – from the industrial underground traditionalists to those in The Wire crowd – and there is a tangible, increasing confidence with every outing. Her latest tape, this time on Finland’s Freak Animal Records, is The Great Panic, a brief but powerful third full-length in Puce Mary’s discography. It’s somewhat less abstract than previous releases, and for my money, all the better for it. The tracks here showcase more of a “traditional” industrial structure, full of angular muscle and grit.
The Great Panichas been beautifully presented in bold red and white, with a knowing, almost ironic pin-up girl collage on the cover. I always wondered if the title of Frederikke’s previous Puce Mary album, Ultimate Hypocrisy was in some way related to its own collage artwork: lots of flesh and hints of porn, but no faces and no actual naughty bits: the ultimate objectification and commodification of the human body. It was a breath of fresh air amongst the increasingly clichéd collages of violent smut, which is all very enjoyable, but at times a little lazy.
The tape opens with “Another Dream on Superiority”; barely decipherable spoken word washes over a slow bass sequence and terse delay throughout. The following track, “Scaps”, it has to be said, comes across a little slap-hazard, with insistent rim shot patter sparring with heavily flanged vocals. It’s messy, but thankfully short.
There’s an outstanding martial atmosphere on the title track, and fantastic juggernaut rhythms with queasy Anenzephalia-styled vocals on “Insomnia”. “Drugs I” is perfect: lurching, gutsy analogue crunch undermining subtle upper-range improvisation. There’s a lot going on, but it’s distinct, focused and brilliant. It’s a real highlight, and if “Drugs I” was a happy trip, “Drugs II” is chemical-induced fear and paranoia. It rounds out the tape very nicely.
The Great Panic delivers seven tracks in total, but it’s a relatively short release that doesn’t meander unnecessarily and is never self-indulgent. It’s focused, punchy, and straight to the point.
A1) Another Dream on Superiority
A3) The Great Panic
B1) Teach them how to Think
B2) Drugs I
B3) Drugs II