Bobb Trimble – Iron Curtain Innocence

Originally released in 1980 on Vengeance Records

2007 Secretly Canadian Reissue

Format: LP


Review

Bobb Trimble’s 1980 debut (originally released on his own label) contains nightmarish folk-pop that fits on the fringe of the loner-psych lineage of Syd Barrett and modern artists like Alex G or Holy Sons.

The slow, ominous groove of “Glass Menagerie Fantasies” creeps in from squeals of a radio dial; psychedelic, interlocking layers of guitars play in all 3 channels while disturbing pixie-like vocals sing of “your imaginary world of fantasies”. The track adds levels of intensity by adding fat fuzz-bass riffs or horror-movie synth solos at its most pivotal moments. While this opener is definitely eerie, the second track “Night at the Asylum” takes these vibes to an almost comedic level through samples of cackling witches, shrieks, and deranged laughing in the background, invoking the feeling of going through a Halloween theme park on hallucinogens. The nightmare continues on “When the Raven Calls”, which starts with a driving guitar solo and ghostly vocals that settle into a beat of dark marching drums and squelching synths. Trimble’s words paints apocalyptic images of “World War III” and his “dreams turned to ashes”. When his lyrics get more personal they often borderline on obsessive romance, especially throughout the masochistic dirge “Your Little Pawn” (“I’d even sacrifice my life for you if I had to”, “you’re throwing my love into flames”, “You abuse me, I’m your little pawn”, etc) and the dreamy, apologetic “One Mile from Heaven” (“All I want is for you to be mine”, “Give me courage to see your success, while I’m failing at every dream”).  This song stands out as the most accessible on the album, with its catchy choruses and memorable guitar melodies. Both a short and long version of this song bookend the LP’s relatively brighter B-side, which also includes the weirdly upbeat “Killed by the Hands of an Unknown Rockstar” and “Through My Eyes (Hopeless as Hell: D.O.A.)”, a culminating track that blends the album’s different vibes, blurring the lines between dream and nightmare.

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