Black Tar Jenny is the latest release from Vile Plumage, the project of Andy Jarvis and Darren Wyngarde. A short time ago I reviewed a lengthy release from them featuring weird and warped sounds that came with different covers on every release. This time, Black Tar Jenny is much more cohesive over its 18 minute runtime, with one track that spans the disc.
The track opens with the sound of clanging pots and pans, reverberated and pitched to different tones. Shallow vocals come into play, chants of sorts that build the sound until churning and at times squealing electronics enter the mix. The percussive elements are strangely effective; they’re rudimentary at first but they begin to add to the sonic template much more than one might think. It’s the percussion and the short bursts of noise that make Black Tar Jenny an enjoyable release.
Somewhere in the middle the strums of guitar make an appearance, oddly offsetting the electronics. It works well until about 15 minutes in, where the last few moments of the track peter off into a messy strand of squeaks and buzzes that last too long.
The first ten minutes of Black Tar Jenny are the most effective; it’s too bad that Vile Plumage didn’t continue with the percussive bursts, because they are tribal and hypnotic. Instead, the track evolves into something less interesting in its final moments. Still, ten out of twenty minutes is worth a listen, at least.