Gwynplaine de Pétroleuse
Incredibly diverse in musical style and provocative in lyrical themes ONO delivers a powerful and eclectic album. Odd drumming and found percussion, groovy and dark keys, screeching guitars and feedback, and absolutely haunting Gospel-like singing brings Spooks's dark stories of racism and the casualties of white supremacy together. An amazing release and an absolutely wild live band.
Favorite track: Cotton Gin.
Webster Dictionary defines 'spook' as a ghost or a specter, and ONO's brutal, daunting new LP is teeming with them. But 'spook' is also a racial epithet, and this double-meaning informs the album from start to finish. The specter of race, of course, has defined our nation's history from its inception--it's the "long shadow," in Obama's words, that's with us always. 'Spooks,' as bandleader P. Michael puts it with typical bluntness, 'is America--past, present and future.'
It's hardly the first time the almighty ONO have brought their vision to bear on the dilemma of black life in the 'New World', but Spooks is ONO going deeper, darker and denser than they ever have before. Joined by a slew of guest performers and fellow travelers, including Ministry's Al Jourgensen, Lamont Thomas of Cleveland's Obnox, Hilal Omar Al Jamal of Night Auditor, and longtime collaborator Shannon Rose Riley, the core band is at its most punishing, with their Afro-industrial rhythms driving and ruthless. Singer travis, meanwhile, has never sounded so terrifying, or prophetic, as he conjures up, in his many voices, the "bleeding haunts" of (pan)-American life: cotton gins, sugar plantations, CIA coups; "Brownsville" slumlords, South Side arrest rides, drive-thru funeral homes. "I try not to think about Spooks," he explains. "Spooks burns my loins. Spooks buries my unborn children. Spooks illuminate the (US) American landscape."
Spooks is no history lesson, or dry polemic. Its ghosts are still rattling their chains. It's hard to imagine where they can possibly go after as grueling (and brilliant) an album as this, but after heating up for some 35 years ONO is positively aflame--whatever they thrown down next might literally melt the wax -- Liam Warfield
released October 30, 2015
Hilal Omar Al Jamal – 2nd lead and backing Voices on tracks 1-2-3-4-5-6-8-9-10
Obnox plays guitar on track 7, guitar & vocals on track 11, and drums on track 12.
Al Jourgensen plays slide guitar on tracks 1-2-3-5-6-8-9, harmonica, piano, & vocals on track 4, vocals on track 10, and guitar on track 12.
Cooper Crain- additional keyboards and synthesizers throughout
Travis- lead /backing voices and electronics
Shannon Rose Riley - lead /backing voices, samples, electronics, French and concertina
Dawei- Guitars and Kalimba
Jesse- Guitars and Kalimba
Adam – Drum kit and Percussion
Ben- Drum kit , Tympani and Percussion
Rebecca-Piano- Keyboards, Acoustic piano, lead and backing voices
Brett- Modular synthesizer
P Michael – bass guitar- samples -acoustic piano- harmonica –synthesizers- voices