Hector Bizerk has went from strength to strength in the last year; their unique blend of thought provoking lyrics, interesting percussion and Louie’s acerbic Glaswegian twang make for a very unique listen indeed.
The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is written as a complimentary soundtrack to the play ‘Crazy Jane’, which depicts a harrowing tale of a mentally ill can-can dancer in Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris.
A huge undertaking for Hector Bizerk, but one that they pull off with complete flair.
Opening track ‘Overture For Jane’ takes us straight into completely new territory, an instrumental track of huge proportions was hardly the intro many expected from Glasgow’s foremost hip-hop act.
The track has an almost theatrical quaintness that shows a real attention to detail and references the play well; it slips seamlessly into the title track, which sees the first introduction of Louie’s unique vocal style.
Again the instrumentation is what really stands out, some carefully measured percussion from Audrey Tait and a tasteful quiet guitar provide the perfect backdrop for Louie’s lyrics about struggling through and trying to resist the pressures of life; light hearted stuff eh?
‘Dr Charcot’ is one of the most unique songs on the album; cleverly Hector have chosen to describe different characters from the play with their own song, ‘Dr Charcot’ being one of the most interesting; the sneering chorus almost sees Louie channeling his version of the character fantastically.
Again its instrumentation differs entirely from previous tracks, but works extremely well in the context; it seems as though Hector Bizerk can do no wrong at the moment.
‘Welcome to the Nuthouse’ is one of the most thought provoking tracks on the album.
Lyrically it describes the view of someone taking a tour of the asylum and conjures up some fantastic images throughout.
Hector Bizerk has a real talent of letting the lyrics take the foreground, whilst keeping the music interesting.
It touches on modern society’s view on mental illness and the voyeurism sometimes displayed towards it – “that concludes today’s entertainment/ I trust you have enjoyed yourself.”
The way that Hector Bizerk has used this record as a vehicle to openly talk about the struggles of mental illness is extremely admirable.
The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is an absolute masterclass in storytelling and musical profiency.
Audrey Tait’s production and musicianship combine with Louie’s storytelling so well.
At first glance, basing the record on a play was a huge undertaking for the band, but one they pull off effortlessly.
Not only is this such an enjoyable and varied listen, the album also highlights such important issues in modern day society.
The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is a triumph of epic proportions.
Words: Andy McGonigle