Music » Critics' Picks

Puerto Muerto

Saturday, March 1; Creepy Crawl


Perhaps St. Louis' favorite prodigal son and daughter, Puerto Muerto return on Saturday night in support of the duo's newest release, Elena (Action Driver). Following the much-ballyhooed Your Bloated Corpse Has Washed Ashore!, this short set (seven songs proper, plus dub versions) leaves behind the pirates and rogues in favor of such light subjects as infanticide, molestation and incest. The moral of the song-cycle seems to be not to "mess with disjointed and insane girls," in better half Christa Meyer's words. The CD's inspired opening track casts Mekon Jon Langford as Mr. Hartwake, whose invective-filled harangue sets the stage for the heroine's reclamation of the Lord's vengeance as her own birthright.

Fans know by now not to assume that the narratives of a PM release will make sense to our waking minds and to expect instead an unheimlich setting suggestive of childhood nightmares, one that draws us nearer while we remain terrified of reaching the destination we seek. Meyer and husband/collaborator Tim Kelley may test their skills in translating this material onstage, however: Elena broadens PM's dynamic range to include everything from sitars, cellos and clarinets to synthesized ambient noise. Though the art-rock vibe and Meyer's operatic pipes might weary the average whatevercore listener, PM's unclassifiable yet seductive sounds keep the group's zealous disciples clamoring for more.

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