Cacophony is the second Rudimentary Peni album. Released after the band returned from their first hiatus following a series of personal events that changed the band forever.
The thirty track LP keeps turning heads 34 years after its release. Far from writing another “Death Church” the band embarked on a truly bizarre quest. To record an album based on the life and writings of horrors absolute king H.P. Lovecraft. A dense cacophony of total free songwriting. Dark, gothic, intricate, unexpected head-scratching punk. The short bursts of music twist and turn at every corner – the vocals are part classic Blinko and part spoken word, the guitar is full of distorted awkward tones and the every inventive bass and drums are locked together creating a truly unique album.
Cacophony is the benchmark of outsider Punk and the influence and cult nature of this album grows with every passing year.
This reissue stays close to the original version, with Nick Blinko’s incredible cover art, including a 11” x 11” 8-page lyric booklet.
Our take: Sealed Records’ Rudimentary Peni reissue series continues with the band’s second full-length, Cacophony. Released in 1988, five years after their previous record, Death Church, Cacophony finds Rudimentary Peni still sounding very much like themselves while expanding their sound considerably. I’m sure there are plenty of punks who don’t go any further with Peni than Death Church, which I understand. Rudimentary Peni’s earlier records are indisputably punk, while Cacophony is still grounded in punk, but ultimately something more than, or least different from, punk. I’ve always found it rather inscrutable. In fact, I got rid of the first copy I owned years ago, convinced it was just too weird for me… I no longer feel that way at all, so I’m very glad to have it back in my collection. I still find Cacophony strange and inscrutable, but my attitude toward the strange and inscrutable has changed… whereas I used to feel like I had to figure out a record in order to love it, now I feel like I can only love a record if I can’t quite get my head around it… it has to have some kind of tension to the listening experience, something for me to wrestle with. And lord knows Cacophony has plenty to wrestle with. Ostensibly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s writing, I’ve never found that a helpful lens through which to view Cacophony. While it’s easy to see how Lovecraft would have appealed to Nick Blinko, Lovecraft’s work is hardly a key that unlocks Cacophony’s mysteries… it’s too bathed in the band’s idiosyncrasies for that. Rather than trying to dissect those idiosyncrasies, I tend to just let Cacophony wash over me, enjoying the ride as Rudimentary Peni travels through a kaleidoscopic litany of vocal personae and deep catalog of creepy rhythms. I once heard someone refer to Cacophony as the Trout Mask Replica of punk, and that reference captures how the record is ambitious, yet fragmented. However, Cacophony, unlike Trout Mask Replica, isn’t a difficult listen… overwhelming, perhaps, but not unpleasant. The album’s conceit is rich and fascinating, and the band is in incredible form, with bassist Grant Brand still their secret weapon. Cacophony is a record that demands a lot of the listener, so if you just want to thrash, then maybe it won’t be for you. However, it offers a lifetime worth of rewards for those who wade into its depths.