Skip to main content

Pere Ubu: Carnival Of Souls

A ghoulish underscore from Cleveland’s cult veterans.

“The album is not about the movie,” says Pere Ubu founder David Thomas on their 18th release in 40 years. “[It’s] a complex sensual response to living in a world overrun by monkeys and strippers who tickle your ears, cajole you to join in... then become vindictive when you decline.”

Well, quite. But created as a live underscore for the B-movie horror classic, COS is a lot darker and more claustrophobic than Thomas’s press notes propose. If you’re familiar with Ubu’s trailblazing anti-rock, Golden Surf II and Bus Station will hit the spot. Darryl Boon’s plaintive clarinet threads through the whole work, with kindred weirdos Residents, Captain Beefheart and David Baker’s Mercury Rev conjured on tracks such as Dr Faustus.

In a cool twist, the COS-influenced Eraserhead seems to encroach on desert-rock romancer Irene. Brother Ray closes with a dogged Dust Bowl creepiness that only Tom Waits could outdo. If there’s a time and a place for everything, dinner parties and date nights are excluded from this ghoulish cine-sexual affair.

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.