The Messthetics, desire, aesthetics, energy, awareness of the archaic power trio on #neuguitars #blog
Messthetics are probably the latest interesting phenomenon in rock. The latest spontaneous evolution of the power trio formula. The sublimation of a musical aesthetic that gave its best in the good old days. The latest expression of a desire for energy that has languished for too long under the ashes. The last? Or maybe they are the ultimate hinge. The act aware of a mutation that is now irreversible and honestly accepted as it is now? But who are the Messthetics? They are the authors of two of the most genuinely interesting and adventurous records of the last three years, starting in 2018 when the excellent namesake “The Messthetics”, released by the historic indipendent label Dischord, put them in the spotlight of indie rock. They are a real power trio supported by the rhythm section of Joe Lally and Brendan Canty, the bass and drums of Fugazi, a group that more than any other has contributed to (re) define the aesthetics, sound and legacy of the ’90s, and the very talented Anthony Pirog, guitarist characterized by an unmistakable timbre and an avantjazz vein capable of leaving a mark even in the most distracted listening.
So far they have only produced two records: “The Messthetics” (2018) and “Anthropocosmic Nest” (2019). Two splinters: short durations, 33 and 37 minutes, things of other times. Things with a high density of information, of styles, which has prompted a lot of criticism to see yet another product of postmodernism, which has never really faded away. But is it really so? Messthetics are really just the last rib, the latest product of a cultural supply chain that for a long time seems to have exhausted its propulsive spirit, lost in a myriad of failed hybridizations, of missed opportunities, of communication dead ends, of wasted potential? Of burnt desires? I don’t think so.
I certainly do not deny that this trio is a perfect representation of a surprising environment, the result of filiations, evolutions and hybridizations of genres, styles and languages. But there is something else. Messthetics are the actors aware of a conceptual, noble, articulated narrative form, which has now been able to leave behind those rock and indie forms linked to an era (to a retromania, Simon Reynolds would say) by adopting a connoisseurs’ language, a narrative so complex and articulated to be capable of seducing the mind, coupling it with a powerful and disciplined energy, capable of moving the body, combining the Apollonian and the Dionysian. If what I write is true, then there is more.
So Messthetics represent an example of musical trans-genesis but also the final surrender, the conscious and final acceptance that rock, understood as a form of mass culture is over, that the masses have disappeared, that mass culture has definitively become fragmented in a galaxy made up of myriads of artistic logical units in perennial collision with each other, where Pop has lowered every banner of contamination and experimentalism, sanctioning a definitive break between entertainment for its own sake and a form of pleasure capable of stimulating both body and mind.
I have a very serious defect. I’m never on the last news. I bought these two CDs just a couple of months ago with a delay of over a year. Virtually a geological era. From “Anthropocosmic Nest” the world has turned upside down, by itself and not for the better. Such a small and insignificant thing has overturned all our life paradigms and who the hell knows when we can revert to a new form. Perhaps the same little thing interrupted the path of Messthetics, while I listen to the first two chapters again, I feel like a reader of a monthly popular novel that has exhausted the previous releases and can’t wait to continue the narration.
Two CDs are not enough. Not now. I need to know not how it ends, but how the Messthetics’ narrative continues. Give me a sign, a signal. You have to continue. You can’t leave me waiting there after two records like this. I appeal to your professionalism and your artistic integrity. I missed your debut, I came to you in a period of stasis, where I just have to listen again, accumulate, meditate and imagine. Perhaps this is also the implicit role of periods of crisis: the accumulation of creative kinetic energy for a new leap in anticipation of better times, where we will come back to see and hear you in concert. In the meantime, thank you so much, listening to you gives me energy and hope. Anthony Pirog, you are a fantastic guitarist.