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The Deli Philly’s December Record of the Month: Messy - Curtis Cooper





The Deli Philly’s December Record of the Month: Messy - Curtis Cooper

Equal parts confessional and self-veneration, Curtis Cooper’s latest offering begins without a shred of hesitation or apology. Starting off with the full throttle swell of “Freak Out,” Messy unfolds with a satisfying in-your-face bravado. As Cooper croons, “I dare to say that I’m not scared,” screeching riffs, hissing cymbals, and deliberately executed diction amplify the satisfying defiance of survival on your own terms and the intoxicating thrill of reveling in what other’s might consider flaws. A dance-worthy homage to vulnerability, “Freak Out” reminds listeners that it’s okay not to be okay and that sometimes the best way to save yourself is by embracing your inner chaos.

Throughout Messy’s second track, “Philly Jelly,” Cooper channels their inner Billy Corgan circa Machina of God, reviving the best of the grunge era’s zeitgeist. Passion laced with angst and yearning, the song captures the contradiction of being defined by external factors like lovers or hometowns. Through dissonance and sincerity, “Philly Jelly” proves itself to be a perfectly tempered exploration of how proximity can inform desire and a sense of belonging. Prefaced by a whispered countdown, “Crazy” shines a spotlight on Cooper’s softer side. With melodic licks of guitar and proclamations like “I heard your words and I fell for your lines,” the track is as much as it is a love song as it’s an anthem about hero worship. Disillusioned, yet nostalgic, it captures a far too often omitted perspective on romance and remembrance.

“Percs of Life,” prefaced by a calm yet evocative interlude, examines the highs and lows of life with initially sparse instrumentation that gradually blooms into gut-wrenching chords. When Cooper sings, “Time to feel alive again/time to be confined again,” the song, like an ouroboros, turns in on itself, resembling the cyclical nature of mortality implied by its lyricism. “Yeah, No,” a psych-infused melody, feels like a vivid fever dream, enveloping its listener in a brief yet lush soundscape reminiscent of a Devendra Banhart b-side or Brian Jonestown Massacre at their tamest.

With the similarly subtle yet instantaneously catchy “Jkayla,” they pick up the tempo. As the track progresses, it carves out an unpredictable topography of its own. By the time Cooper confesses, “I could have been you/I should have been you,” Messy’s listeners will believe them as if it each word was gospel truth. “Everyone Loves You” is a dark and brooding ballad about the thin line between love and objectification and the ever present promise of escape. Ending with “everyone loves/everyone loves you/everyone stays,” the tune sets the proverbial stage for the equally grim “Everybody’s Dying.” Whether the death in this song is literal or metaphorical, Cooper’s macabre lyrics and heavy riffs continue to echo in the minds of listeners as it eases into the LP’s second interlude.

The album’s closer, “Is It Real,” is a hushed yet existential meditation on love and the meaning of life. Here, Cooper’s fondness for the late great Elliott Smith shows, leaving their audience with a sense of melancholic nostalgia mixed with undertones of hope. Similar to 2016’s Laughing in a Line, Messy is required listening for any Philly native who considers themselves a music lover. Cooper’s anthems aren’t just timely; they’re necessary. (Photo by Abigail Townsend) – Dianca London

This Emerging Artist is based in Philadelphia,
check out other talented locals we picked
for our Philadelphia Artist of the Month poll below!

         
Which of these local acts should be The Deli Philly's featured artist(s)?
Total: 247 votes
  Great Time 
  Kilamanzego 
  Painted Forest 
  Potential Gospel 
  The No. 1 Lovers 

This poll will end on October 31, 2018 at 11.59 PM ET

Please stay positive with the comments, support for other bands is one of the secrets of "success."

Results as of October 23, 2018, 2:07 pm

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