Behavior is a band from Los Angeles, comprised since 2012 of Bedros Yeretzian, Evan Burrows, and Justin Tenney. Their collaboration is a shifting ad hoc agreement, organized around a permissive sensibility that is anchored to consistency of image rather than genre myopia. Their music continues to map a line of departure, a stumbling movement in restless hopscotch across a pop music tradition that has tallied an unlivable inheritance of promises.
Spirits & Embellishments is their third LP, and their first with the label Post Present Medium, which is newly revived after a short pause. The record is preceded by last year’s self-released EP Shithead Apology, and two LPs— Bitter Bitter (2017) and 375 Images of Angels (2016), both of which were released on the seminal West Coast punk label Iron Lung Records. Spirits & Embellishments was written in a small, shared practice space in Los Angeles, rented at a cost of $139.34 per month. The lyrics were compiled and composed collaboratively on a shared document hosted on a proprietary cloud— an assembled repository of original and found language, a record of the intellectual and emotional meanderings of three different people over a limited period of time. Spirits & Embellishments features guest performances by Evan Backer, Sophie Weil, Nicole Antonia Spagnola and Robert Cody. The album was recorded and mixed over roughly five days by Greg Hartunian, Robert Cody and Behavior at Tropico Beauty in Glendale, CA.
Spirits & Embellishments is a brush fire, hungry for oxygen, choking the dry air with lavender, sage, and melting plastic. The tools are simple, the atmosphere is stark, the space is literal. These are tactile rock n roll songs, shaped at root by the extreme techniques of punk in all its groping permutations. These songs are lengths of multichrome climbing rope coiled like snakes, brought to life by way of melodrama, and contemporary in their free association. They were conceived with irreverence for the distinction between Crass and The Rolling Stones, to leverage the evaporating space of antagonism between first wave post-punk and its commercially unambivalent counterparts. The method was ultimately functional: rounding and smearing over the vacant face of rote angularity, leaning into craft in an attempt to outmode what’s simply been accounted for.
The lyrical voice on Spirits & Embellishments is miserable, cherubic—a glitching romantic fumbles with the familiar fetishes of a worn out avant gardist tradition, strobing at an irreverent tear between confession and non sequitur, idealism and bitterness, leftward cynicism and rightward nihilism in the grotesque style. The lyrical voice is realistic. It’s a wide open mouth that delivers to the present what it steals from the past. The 'speaker' is a teetering brickwork of textual inter-reliances—grasping, wry, but also plain and earnest at turns. A heavily sentimental presence that anyway refuses to commit to the undernourished sense that a shrinking personal world is somehow sacrosanct.
There’s a desire for tension, a desire for fraudulent postures, for both intimacy and distance. A tedious attachment to control and good taste. An invitation to derangements. A principled approach that feels honest. A blood flow, a double-hearted circulation between contempt and care, working the body at an urgent pulse.