Carolee, Gothic Beauty

Two main elements characterize this album: David E. Williams' innovation as an electronic composer and his gruesome sense of humor. The music draws you in with captivating, layered keyboards and effects, and almost before you realize what's happening, you're in the middle of something terrible that you can't turn away from before it's too late. Williams' very unsettling songs make casual use of off-limits subjects like murder, child abuse, rape, and disease. They're told in an inexorable, unflinching manner, with just enough sad resignation to imply (without actually feeling) regret for the grimness, filth and evil that is human. The musical accompaniment to these twisted narratives range from sparse, pensive neo-classical piano to glowering electric guitars, industrial electronic beats, and miasmas of paranoid ambience. It'd be interestingly listenable without such cancerous lyrics, but as it is, it's the musical equivalent of driving past a wreck or looking through a pathology textbook. You don't really want to look, but you're too fascinated not to; it makes you queasy, but you're glad it's not you.