Haunting, dreamy, yet undeniably sinister, Vulva Culture’s two track cassette Hydromorphone is charming, in a twisted sort of way. Since their last few albums, Vulva Culture have remained true to a melancholic sound, and focus on foreboding.
The first song, “Hydromorphone,” starts with ominous, pouty guitar in the background, and features an anxious, fluttering guitar at the front. Each lyric is delivered by the breathy Amy Vinnedge. The song is named for the morphine derivative 7.5 times more potent than the morphine itself. The song is relaxing, yet there is abrasion leaking in from the distorted guitars, echoing vocals, and sombre lyrics. The calmness of the music seems unnatural — like there is something lurking in the shadows. Naming the track after a powerful sedative that is addictive to the point of debilitation was a fitting choice.
Track two, “Let’s Stay Dead,” sounds like a sleepy, distant love song in the beginning, featuring one soft electric guitar. Vinnedge opens singing “Take my hands…,” which immediately evokes the chorus of the Elvis Presley song “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” That sentimental association fades and gives way to a darker reality as the lyrics continue with “… they are bleeding.” More guitars saunter in and offer a sinister backdrop. Vinnedge repeats “I’m yours” as haunting guitars riff in the background.
Trepidation remains present. Heartfelt, these songs are soothing for the ominous romantic within us all.