It's a wonder David E. Williams isn't better known. Over the course of three albums he's spewed forth some of the most absurd and twisted vignettes wrapped in simple and effective melodies performed on his faithful set of keyboards. He's a true outsider pursuing his own musical vision. He's untainted by the twin constructs of good and bad taste.
Some may find the work of David E. Williams offensive and provocative. And how could you not when these depraved narratives call upon - abusive fathers, pederastic mayors, dead babies, chemotherapy patients, serial abortionists... Quite often this litany of the gross and hopeless is secondary to the punchline. He drops them in without a raised eyebrow as if they're just everyday normal activities. But when they're wrapped up in sugar coated melodies, how can you resist?
Williams truly excels when he plays it straight. The stammering beats underpin chiming melodies, and clipped guitar stylings on 'Last Belch of the Fish' where Williams morosely deadpans "Candy painted portraits of celebrities by hand on velvet and though her Elvis looked more like Morey Amsterdam, the carnival crowd used to compliment her: her art wasn't perfect but her blowjobs were". Then there's the perky melody of 'It Was April' where Williams sounds like a sociopathic Julian Cope circa Fried. Or on 'Soiled Bandages' and 'Nativity of Skulls' he's the cabaret singer from hell. " ‘You're far too good for this world,’ she would obsequiously purr. Yeah, I'm far too good for this world, but not good enough for her! And when I smile, she sticks her finger down her throat as if to gag. Funny today we share a joke, tomorrow a body bag". Then there's the sheer elegance of 'Nativity of Skulls' which boasts the closest thing to a chorus Williams has ever indulged in. If a rousing singalong of "Take that stench from me" can be considered chorus material. Best of all is 'Stephanie, I Forgive You' delivered in classic pop fashion complete with a string section. Though I don't suppose many can get away with: "Stephanie, I forgive you. Stephanie, I forgive you. And I really just wanna say I know you didn't go out of your way to cause the pain that you did....And I know that you don't miss me, but I don't mind. Because I know the reason you don't miss me is you're so drunk all of the time."
It's the tragi-comedy beneath the sheen, the despair and desperation behind the gloss that Williams so cruelly elucidates. The music employs beautiful melodies borne from a bank of keyboards that takes in pop, film soundtracks, cartoon music and so forth.
Elsewhere, there's the nightmare fairytale of 'The Little Dead Mermaid', the industrial abrasiveness of 'The Oven' and a number of semi-interesting excursions into experimental terrain. The fact that all the aforementioned tracks are taken form personal demos and live performances quite frankly astounds me. I haven't even mentioned those that tread into dubious 'political' territories such as 'Portrait of Doktor Goebbels’ (it's not what you think!) and the rousing symphonic joy of 'Wotan Rains on a Plutocrat Parade'.
You can discover the delight of Williams' debut EP yourself. The four tracks making their way onto the CD format after 17 years. Either way, Pseudo Erotica and Beyond 1988-1996 is further evidence of an unheralded musical genius or one truly sick fuck.