The Funeral and the Twilight: To Kill You

The spine of the Funeral and the Twilight's new CD requests that you "Call here before you kill yourself: (202) 456-1111." It's a direct line to the White House's legion of robot operators, which spits out this message: "Thank you for calling the White House comment line. Your comment is very important to the president."

To Kill You hearkens this age of isolation, when actually talking to a human has become rare and finding one who cares what you think is rarer still. Benjamin Jones's ghostly vibrato shakes off these surroundings, plugging you directly into his emotional switches.

Ten out of ten songs bleed black. A few—"Ready to Disappear," "Now She Is Mine to Keep," and "Lipstick on My Pillow"—at first feel like they come from the Cure's poppy era, when you wonder whether Robert Smith's pretending to be happy means he is crazier than ever. Mostly, the discordant melodies, punctuating cymbal crashes, and bleak imagery push-pull listeners to the dark side, luring them to a séance on top of Ian Curtis's grave.

Other highlights are linked to the album's dedication, "In loving memory of God." "God Holds You Now" showcases swooning staccato and vampiric love notes: "I put you on the table/I open you up/You have so many things to touch/And things to lust." Four songs later, "O My Goodness, O My Goodness, O My God" plays with layers. A single guitar line leads to orchestrated cacophony, which Jones's howling fails to placate.

In the end, To Kill You reminds listeners that the era of despair will always be in vogue—and if you must wallow, do it with decadence. In a town that can be preoccupied with happy-go-lucky garage rock, the Funeral and the Twilight have sliced through the bliss with their haunting new record, which is likely to be one of the best local releases of the year.

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