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    Don't Ask Don't Tell ( 1994 )
    Finish Line / Mercury Falls / Yr Reign / Posion / Let's Get Lost / String / German Song / In Out / Wrong Side / Arrive

    The stench of death permeated the white walls that enclosed them. The trolley was wheeled round, and some had dozens. Some had colours of every description. Some rocked back and forth in desperation. Only one had a copy of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' by Come, because it was the only album he managed to pick up before being committed. You can cry your eyes out until there are no more tears left in the ocean, only to be told to shut the fuck up. You can share a tiny little dark room with a stranger who is equally as disturbed. You smuggled in a walkman. You smuggled in 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' by Come, the follow-up to their acclaimed debut. You liked their debut a lot until your record player broke. That's why you bought the follow-up on cassette, then years later, on CD. It captured the dark swamp you were enclosed in. You were the one trapped with that stranger crying your eyes out. You listened to this album by Come and then doubted the claim that music was ever meant to be 'entertainment' in the first place. Surely, it was always meant to be art? Surely, it was always meant to be music that would be able to take you places? So, we need music that is agressive, as well as soft. We need music that is pretty as well as music that is ugly. We need music that is background as well as we need music that rips your ears off. 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' by Come is music that approaches being unapproachable. It isn't pretty, yet equally, it's far from being avant-garde, or sheer noise. The guitars chime deliriously, the bass and drums create that feeling of foreboding. The female vocals have grit and blues and sound like the dying death throes of Janis Joplin. Well, in spirit. I'm glad i'm still alive to tell the tale.

    'Finish Line' is close enough to 'Rock Music', albeit produced in the post-grunge era, to be familiar. It may not quite capture your attention, but flowing into the sheer glory that is 'Mercury Falls', it adds upto a beautiful one-two punch in the left eye, all the same. 'Mercury Falls' builds upon the promise of 'Eleven-Eleven', that debut LP that Come produced that briefly held the attention of the music press. Nobody was seemingly listening circa 'Don't Ask Don't Tell', but I certainly was. 'Mercury Falls' takes the quiet loud scenario and turns it upside down. During the quiet moments, there is always promise of the explosion to come. Aggression, without resorting to devil or heavy metal cliches. The blues electrified, without the virtuoso of a Hendrix. Sheer soul emanating through the vocal chords of Thalia Zedek. 'Posion' and especially 'Yr Reign' threaten to rock your socks off, yet the album as a whole holds you within the dark place that the first two songs have created. 'In Out' is exhilarating, 'Wrong Side' is a lengthy exploration of blues and darkness and dynamics. The seven minute closer 'Arrive' contains lighter moments of beauty, yet the darkness remains. Two grown men laugh at all the dieseases they have. They laugh at how they are going to be drugged up to the extent that they cannot laugh anymore, even in darkness. Even laughter resulting in self-harm. At least the laughter existed. It's better than zombie-like nothing-ness. 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' was my sound-track for awhile, then? Yes. It's too dark to be perfect, but if you want something intense, then dip right in.

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    this page last updated 21/07/07

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