Selim Lemouchi And His Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water Fire
Selim Lemouchi is not a man to let the grass grow under his feet. After disbanding the groundbreaking The Devil’s Blood in January he’s already put out one release, a three-tracker ‘Mens Animus Corpus’, under the name Selim Lemouchi And His Enemies (as well as also overseeing The Devil’s Blood’s swansong ‘Tabula Rasa Or Death And The Seven Pillars’), and has now followed that EP with the next chapter of his new band, a 44 minute offering entitled ‘Earth Air Spirit Water Fire’.
As may be expected from Lemouchi ‘Earth Air Spirit Water Fire’ is by no means an easy listen, nor an easy album to get a handle on. It’s not so much about what it says as the way it says it, and the elemental offering walks a fine line between rampant self-indulgence and pure genius, never straying far from either camp.
There’s an fundamental progression of five running through the album according to the biog. “[Lemouchi] brought the five dimensions of the pentacle, the pentagram and the pentagon into the flesh as he perceived, understood and accepted them…” and as such the five word title gives way to five finely balanced but eclectic compositions with the centre-piece, the ambient ‘The Ghost Of Valentine Part IV’, providing the album’s fulcrum. Opener ‘Chiaroscuro’ (the contrast between light and shade) kicks off with a lengthy rant against God which sets up an unassuming refrain whose malevolence is in its relentless repetition. Simple, but extremely effective. ‘Next Stop Universe, B’ which at a little over three minutes is the baby of the set comes over with a Hawkwind swagger and a blustering guitar refrain. With ‘The Ghost…’ and its laid-back cocoon-like embrace safely navigated ‘The Deep, Dark Waters’ is an interesting slice of psychedelia, a song too refined to be hurried which eventually bites back with a Dave Gilmour-esque solo and a tip of the hat to Pink Floyd. ‘Molasses’ rounds off the quintet, aggressively announcing itself but then stepping back into the shadows and slowly building to an inevitable and engaging climax.
Like all great albums you only get out of ‘Earth Air Spirit Water Fire’ what you put into it. Casually listen to it and you’ll never get it: but invest time and energy into trying to understand it and you’ll see it for the towering edifice it is. Trust me on this.
© John Tucker December 2013