While recording a group of songs that would end up being part of This World Just Eats Me Up Alive, Brian Crook took a break outside with his bandmates. A small girl nearby ran up to a woman saying “Mommy, mommy! There’s a vampire here!” The mother asked how the girl knew it was a vampire, and the girl said, “He talks like this,” and proceeded to do a growling impression of a New Zealand accent. At the time, Brian was in a dark suit and had super long hair, and was playing badminton….
Crook’s new solo album comprises eight years of recording, so perhaps his undead appearance is not surprising; it comprises a span of inspiration that seems almost vampiric, with themes suggested by Greek mythology, a favorite 1960s author, to the abstract electronics of Aphex Twin and Arca as influences. The album came together in parts, slowly assembled with various contributors and recording locations, the earliest trace having lyrical origins from 1991, and was done during during sessions for The Terminals, Crook’s other band (you can also add NZ legends Scorched Earth Policy and Flies Inside The Sun to that list).
A near decade provides a lot of material for reflective songwriting. In Crook’s revelations about life in New Zealand and his tenebrous lyrical style there is more than a touch of comedy, albeit of a blackly humorous, “South Island New Zealand” nature. The lyrics and music come from a similar place as New Zealand painters Bill Hammond and Tony de Latour, evoking a kind of ceremonial primitivism.