Total Erosion of Meaning
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., Nov. 22, 2019
Johnny Hilbun's deep baritone sinks into his chest like a fathomless boom. Occupying grandiose and operatic spaces, Total Erosion of Meaning sounds as if it's bouncing off the floorboards of an abandoned cathedral. In "No One Watched Us Kiss," reverb balloons and stretches, while "The Lens" ripples chords searching for the edge of the world. Lushly arranged thanks to multi-instrumentalist Marcus Maurice Rubio and the late Seth Gibbs, Moist Flesh serves as an exposé of Hilbun's vocals in corporeal twofer "Total Desecration" and "Nubile Flesh." In the former, he bellows, "I'll die beneath the moonbeams with you," whereas in the latter his timbre floats delicately like it's about to break on the crest of a towering wave. Redolent with the worn-in textures of Roy Orbison, the Austin threesome draws elements from Country & Western and rockabilly in Fifties triumvirate "Who Am I," "Que Te Importa?" and "Mentally Ill." Total Erosion of Meaning anchors itself in brooding verisimilitude and hopeless romanticism.