Boomkat Product Review:
The legendary debut album of San Fran industro-punk Minimal Man returns to the surface, replete with exclusive new cut and bonus tracks.
‘The Shroud Of’ is a definitive document of Minimal Man’s years in San Francisco between forming in 1979 and departing for Europe and collaborations with Tuxedomoon after his 2nd album, ‘Safari’ in 1985. The original album’s 13 songs present a unique sound torn between punk rock’s usual brittle drums, guitars and snotty vox, and more caustically textured industrial electronics that prang and snag on his strange combo. In a sense he sounds more European punk than American, with the greater focus on melody and machismo, so it’s maybe understandable that he ended up going that way.
From the enervated synth-punk dirge of ‘Loneliness’ with its topical lyrics about Ronald Reagan, to his cover of Robert Ashley’s ‘The Visitor’ starring Tuxedmoon co-founder Steven Brown, the album is a starkly gripping affair, swaggering its skinny bones between slack punk-funk in ‘High Why’ to prototypical stoner sludge in the slack-stringed grind of ‘Hospital’, with grizzled amp worship in the eerie sihourtte of ‘The Shroud’ and sleazy diamond in ‘The Hex of Sex’ and ‘I Don’t Resist’, the latter of which surely recalls another San Fran unit, German Shepherds from the same era.
To extend its rotten pleasures, there’s also a handful of rare 7” tracks at the end, including the almost death rock-esque ‘Two Little Skeletons’ and skewed industrial-country of ‘Tired Death’, janglign in proximity to San Fran’s Industrial ambassador Monte Cazazza, although the real nugget is ’Shower Sequence’, a no wave-freeform 8 minutes of droll incantations of “I Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly” set to wickedly distended industrial drones, digeridoo, and sheet noise.