Every time I hear a snippet of composer Alban Berg's atonal opera Wozzeck I get this feeling that's a combination of searing pain in my left temple, nausea, and an odd sensation that I have suddenly become dangerously anemic. What that says about my own mental health is a discussion for another time. And although it is decidedly less dogged than even the subtlest German expressionism, In the World of Him, the latest album from British punk (of Mekons "fame") and altcountry-ish weirdo Sally Timms, produces a similar physio-psychological reaction. Timms' eerily detached, overly thought-out (non)passion here has little to do with her usual sweetly cerebral explorations of country music. Tracks like "Sentimental Marching Song," with its bullheaded drum machine, insistently creepy vocals, and a sneaky little creaking noise that just makes you want to rip your toenails off, leave a disturbing taste in your mouth, but not necessarily in an uninteresting way. Something about Him's aloof introspection leaves you unable to turn away from it completely, blood-pulsing migraine or not.
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