The moment The Doll’s LIVE album begins, I had one thought: the sound of that squeaky noise is fucking terrible. I can feel it in my teeth, and I haven’t grinded on them yet! Soon enough, more sounds not only start to come in but all of them swirl into a bouillabaisse of noises till other high pitched noises eventually make its way in. My reaction changed from uncomfortable to intrigued and worried. Ambushed, even.
The thing that LIVE will teach you is that the point of noise is not to be music. It is not supposed to make you dance, you can’t sing to it, none of that shit. The point is to coax a real reaction or emotion out of you. The point is to paint a picture, grim or colorful. Even if the music only briefly moves into musical territory (the skeletal/percussive and occasionally explosive “Universal Jane”), questions should pop out of your mind. What’s going on? Is this a spell being cast? Is that a castanet or something else? Am I living within someone’s nightmare? Is the sleigh bells in “Gateway Couch” supposed to lull me into a false sense of calm? Because it is kinda working.
The best noise doesn’t aim or even need to really throw every loud thing including the kitchen sink at you all at once. Some are made with artists that are meticulous about which noise to chuck. That is why at its most nightmarish, LIVE does what some (keyword: some) of the most popular music can’t do: make you react, feel, think so damn much that the mystery of the album starts to overshadow what it is you think you are hearing.
While on the subject: is that a horn or a kazoo at the end of “Gateway Couch”?