V-3 - The Enemy Within
What a find! Three previously unheard V-3 collections pulled from the abyss by Nudge Squidfish and pushed somewhere near the light. Only somewhere near since there's still a fair amount of obfuscation at play here - were these three discrete albums intended for release that somehow got lost in the shuffle, or have they been retrospectively assembled from archives of unreleased recordings? Given the zigzagging timelines and inclusion of the odd live track, i'm gonna plump for the latter. The patchwork approach seems to suit an outfit like V-3, led by the singular Jim Shepard and birthed from the artpunk chaos of late 70s/early 80s freakscene Ohio. In turn, it makes the job of evaluating the merits of each record somewhat futile, and probably means it's best to understand them as a kind of illogical triptych. Suitably (and, as anyone already familiar with V-3 might attest, inevitably), the music careens between styles and inspirations, a scattershot series of Velvets avant-rock, four-track miniatures and absurdist jokes, lo-fi detonations that could have come from the South Island, mutant new wave, and when force of nature Roxanne Newman takes the lead, a compelling blend of Niagara rock mysticism and downtown art-damage elan. Utterly thrilling and confounding do-as-we-please action. The problem you have is that if you want one of these, you're gonna want them all. For the uninitiated, i'm gonna suggest starting with The Enemy Within, probably the more coherent collection of the three. Still, it's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Jim Shepard constellation, a true avant rock savant surrounded by equally deranged/inspired figures.
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