At the end of 2016/ the beginning of 2017 Justin Majetich released a two-part album called LUV IN THE RUINS. Back then the artist was working under the project moniker, CARE. The albums were broad, the music was sometimes complicated. A couple of weeks ago Majetich returned with a new, playfully poetic name – Majetic, and as Majetic he delivered an equally ambitious set of tunes that underline his sense of value. The name of the new album is Club Dread.
Club Dread represents a shift in vision. Majetic seems concerned with density, rather than scale, and focus, rather than reach. Compositions are more complex, but somehow more intimate. Maybe more confessional in tone. Where previous offerings from the artist projected visions against existing structures, here he dismantles what he’s previously learned, and creates something unique, unforced, and of entirely new perspective.
Basically speaking Club Dread, can be described as experimental electronica, or ‘alternative music’. But that sloppish reach for definition betrays the depth of Majetic’s ambition. Tracks like ‘Covert Arms’ or ‘Lead Halo’ draw the ear to Majetich’s incredible vocal purity. Musical elements are covered in grit and glitch, they are made angular and precarious. But it’s in the lyrics and the delivery of lyrics that the artist makes himself clear, with an unsettling beauty.
‘Rosemilk’ is a moment of unnerving clarity. Wait. we just described this album as experimental electronica, but this track – sitting in the middle of the sequence – offers a pause from the sense of ‘otherness’. Majetich relies only on his voice and a parred-down electric guitar which is strummed like a breath. “Pity you pawned your guitar for that drum machine / nobody cries to a drum machine”. The sense of intimacy, self-reflection, and deep awareness for circumstantial creativity is utterly beguiling – and yet it’s also a challenge, issued from the artist to himself. He can, of course, induce tears with the drum machine.
‘Bloodbrunch’, the second track in sequence, holds a kind of foreshadowing. A nursery-rhyme-melodic chorus, carries that semi-haunting sense of magic and loss, like getting separated from friends in a dark club. It’s that wave of emotional, visceral possibility that washes through the rest of the album. Landing on the final, titular track, we shouldn’t be surprised to hear Majetich sing “I call your phone, it goes to voicemail / I call your phone, it goes and goes and goes”. But we are surprised, and this is one of the most beautiful moments on any album released in the last two years.
Of course, there could be something darker, more violent elements operating at the fringe of Club Dread. Beyond the lights, the beats, and the sense of exploration, Majetic knows that if we go seeking we may find unpleasantness. It’s the awareness of the temporary, and the external threat of things less-magic, that informs the urgency to self-reflect – and to extract sense from what we know.
In Club Dread Majetic serves an intriguing string of associations. He makes us dance in unusual shapes, and he makes us think in unfamiliar ways. Like all worthwhile pursuits this album disrupts habitual, lazy thinking, and it challenges the familiar dark with rare beauty.
HURRY – BUY – MAJETIC MUSIC