Breaking

The Mystery of Victory Hands Part 2: "BISHOP"

Continuing from last time, I proceeded with my search for truth in regards to the mysterious Atlanta-based Victory Hands. I did find the original email exchange where I agreed to review the three records I received, so it wasn't all some covert conspiracy. Last time we looked at BERNSTEIN and ANDERSON, two short releases named for journalistic enemies of Richard Nixon that feature lyrics constructed from Nixon dialogues. Today, I have the LP, BISHOP, to review.

BISHOP is the third Victory Hands release. It's named for Jim Bishop, a journalist who wrote a column for King Features. I can't find any particular noteworthy incident that brought Bishop to Nixon's list of media enemies, but his column included many articles criticizing the President's mediaphobia. Though BISHOP is a full-size LP, it's not so much that in terms of the amount of musick here. The total time isn't even 26 minutes.

BISHOP continues the trend of fantastic packaging. The vinyl is transparent, and the album artwork contains many of the lyrics, shown by blacking out excluded portions from the transcription of Nixon's speech that ended up sung on the album. Text and images are printed stark black on white except for "This Kitchen", which is printed with metallic gold. One image shows a Presidential meeting. The cover art shows a man hugging a chimpanzee. I'm not sure what it means, though there is a surreal cuteness and a calmness to it. It's kind of absurd but adorable. We must continue, though, and pop the clear vinyl onto the table.

The first side begins. "Top Brass" starts with droning guitars rebounding off of an angle. The vocals are all drama, voices about morale and struggle taken from remarks Nixon made to the Department of Defense on January 31st, 1969, the inherent doom of the Vietnam War. "Dressed to the Tease" recalls "Undressed To The Tease" from BERNSTEIN, a song that utilized words between Kissinger and Nixon about Ronald Reagan. It has a cool, acidic, and hollow guitar sound. "Face These Facts" is a short and poppy rocker that reminds me of The Wedding Present. It could be the ending song to a television show.

The second side continues. "This Kitchen" has emotional depth and anxiety. "What we want to do is make life easy." Sometimes I really wonder about this. 'Are you still angry?" Yes, basically, sort of. To respond to a later section, I don't want to fight, but I am upset with the nature of the world. "I want to be unwavering." The song is built from words taken from Nixon's so-called "Kitchen Debate" with Nikita Khrushchev in a model house built to show the power of capitalism. I can't say that that power still exists today except for the few. "Tonight He Stands" is very dissonant. Someone's standing, presumably Nixon at the Republican National Convention, but it gives me vertigo. Words about children, courage, and danger accompany tension-filled riffage. "All In The Family" is all riffage. Then it's all over.

BISHOP officially releases physically on September 27th, 2019 - two days from now! Pre-order a copy today!

BISHOP receives a Good.

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