Purest Spiritual Pigs is technically Helena Thompson's solo project. Primarily recorded in her basement, the ex-Her Majesty the Baby drummer has conceived eleven tracks that blend digitally-manipulated everyday sounds, a wealth of percussion, and a direct and often brooding vocal style to deliver Body Misses, PSP's first full-length release and a companion piece to its live production as conceptual art, which includes an array of local artists--musical, visual, and performance. As such, Purest Spiritual Pigs is not merely Thompson's project, but a team of collaborating artists.
[jump] Listening to Body Misses on CD removes it from the larger artistic concept, but the disc stands on its own. It starts with "Unsteady," a brooding song with a slow buildup. The tone is dark, with hints of pent-up frustration lying just underneath the surface. Its tension is delivered via moody synthesizer and careful use of percussion. The calculated pace of the opener is quickly replaced as it segues into "You Inspire Me," with a heavy, danceable beat and blunt, sarcastic lyrics that show a strong 90s influence somewhere between PJ Harvey and Nine Inch Nails. It's the most accessible song on the record, but Thompson's loops come from unconventional sources. This continues into "Shenti," with its hypnotic beat and repetitive chorus. On "M.J.R.," the guitars offer a more positive sound and a change of pace, but the majority of the record explores an ominous mood.
Despite jumping from plodding, explorative soundscapes to heavy drum and bass beats, the tone of Body Misses remains consistent and identifiable as coming from a single source. It plays as moody, angry, and dark music with an atmospheric bent. While there are songs that feel like distinct singles and feature big hooks, such as "You Inspire Me" and "Pick Myself Up," there are a number of toned down songs like "Three Thieves Gone" and "Burnt Through" that feel like tablesetting for a more complex project.
Appearing on Body Misses are: Helena Thompson, Lenny Gonzalez, Dorothy Wang, Natasha Hassett, N.G. Yrizarry, Susan Clausen, Umberto Crenca, Cody Bourdot.
For more on Purest Spiritual Pigs' projects and releases, check out this website.