If you’re tired of hearing the same old garage rock that’s coming out of Austin, this album is for you. Breathing Problem, which consists of Rusty Kelley and Emelia McKay, have created an album called “Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar” that is another example of why Austin’s noise/experimental scene is a force to be reckoned with.
By Armando Maese
“Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar” does not hold back. This album is not for the average listener, but it’s extremely rewarding for those who are open to it. It has a more industrial sound than most of the material coming out of Austin’s noise scene recently, which has been putting out great power electronics and textbook harsh noise.
The album deals heavily with romantic relationships, which is interesting considering Kelley and McKay are actually romantic partners. They wear their emotions on their sleeves on every track, creating an impactful experience from start to finish. Every emotional high is mirrored by an emotional low, crafting a cohesive experience that is hard to forget.
As a result, “Bed of Sex” is a very heavy album to listen to. It’s often unsettling, which is exactly what it sets out to be. The album works best at setting a mood, sucking listeners into its heavy atmosphere for the entire 59 minutes. It evokes the image of a city slowly being destroyed in a way that’s tragic, but impossible not to watch. The last few songs show the aftermath of the destruction, and the album’s final track acts as the credits to the spectacle.
“Bed of Sex” is a beautiful album that touches on some raw, primal human emotions in an uncommon way. Lyrically, it deals with romance, sex, fear, violence and other aspects of humanity, but it’s the instrumentation that really allows these feelings to come to fruition. The synths and percussion bring out the subconscious anxiety we try to suppress when talking about these emotions in a regular conversation. You can feel the pain the artists are trying to convey with every scream they let out, a level of emotion that’s hard to replicate in other genres.
The album’s interludes also add to the raw human emotion that went into its making. The instruments are stripped down and prolonged, sexual vocal samples come to the forefront, making the harshness the star. These spots, which are called “sessions,” allow the listener to truly understand the goal of the entire album — they were the songs that impacted me the most. They summon feelings of isolation and discomfort, but they also create a feeling of euphoria when they segue into the next track — further proof that the album must be listened to in one sitting.
“Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar” is a testament to the greatness of Austin’s music scene. It shows the city has room for every genre, and it demonstrates the ferocity of human nature. Noise may not be the most popular genre in the city, but it’s definitely one of the most passionate ones, and it refuses to be silent. With this album, Breathing Problem show their refusal to be ignored, and their determination to suck all listeners into the scene eventually.