This Dreadful Mess
Released June 2011 (CD & Digital)
Review: The Blog That Celebrates Itself
2. First Light
3. Yr Queen is Dead
4. Global Affairs / Crack the Code
5. Thé Noir
6. Final Wish
7. The Improbable Escape of PCOCK
I've been intrigued by the psyche of spies for years. How do they wake up to one life, and walk out the door to another, guarding secrets on each side? They have a pardon from their government to commit every crime or sin in the name of national interest. Deceit. Murder. Adultery. Kidnapping... all in a days work. While the days of "cloak and dagger" may have passed with the Cold War, the underside of "intelligence" has not. Last summer's news about Russian agents who had lived in the USA for a decade felt surreal to me. What would it have been like to be their neighbor? But the more I reflected on my fascination, I concluded they are just an amplification of us "normal people". Everyone lives with dualities. Some are just bigger than others.
I began recording "This Dreadful Mess" in the summer of 2009. At the time I was building on a couple of old espionage-themed tunes. As I added new songs a loose story arch emerged: a day in the life of an agent code named, PCOCK. Thus the world's first shoegaze rock opera was born. The story begins with a clue that sets the agent on a journey. He's ultimately ensnared in his own game of cat and mouse and nearly executed. Miraculously he evades death.
I wanted to avoid the cliches of 60's spy twang. In fact, I wanted to make a loud, rock record in the spirit of early 90's British and American shoegaze bands. I started exploring this on Home Demo but think I've found something interesting here. A sound that nods its head to my heroes but still remains my own. Somewhere along the way a little Berlin-era Bowie and Bunnymen crept in and I think it is better for it.
I shot the cover photo when I took a day trip from Berlin to Leipzig, Germany in 2009. It's gear that was used by the Stasi to spy on the citizens of East Germany before the Velvet Revolution. Most of the typography is pulled from redacted CIA documents.
Written, Produced, Performed, Recorded and Mixed by
R. M Hendrix at home, Somerville May 2009/March 2011
Mastered by Stephen Nichols at As Elyzum, Chattanooga April/May 2011
All Songs © 2010 R. M. Hendrix, except "Icepicks" ©1999, "Final Wish" ©2000, "Crack the Code" ©2001
This sound recording ℗ 2011 R. M. Hendrix
Artwork, Layout & Design by R. Michael Hendrix