Carla Bozulich has always maintained a heavy streak of experimental zest in her music. All of her projects—her solo work and her bands Scarnella, the industrial dance project Ethyl Meatplow, and her alt-rock band the Geraldine Fibbers—have at least dabbled in noise, music that would make your parents cringe and say, “What is she screaming about?” Even her cover tribute of Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger included some distortion and impressionistic guitar noodling.
And yet, for the noisy art-rock purists, she’s a bit of a dilettante. Her music is just a little bit too safe and melodic for the avant-garde. For me, she represents the best of both worlds, a sonic explorer who isn’t afraid to make music that is still enjoyable. She’s able to do this because she’s a believer. Whatever you think of her, it’s hard to deny her passion.
Her latest band, Evangelista (which shares the name of her previous solo album), continues her art-rock experimentation to good effect on Hello, Voyager. The 12-minute title track, which closes the album, is a kind of art-rock gospel song and works as a statement of purpose for Bozulich’s entire career.
Bozulich was confronted with drug addiction and sexual abuse early in her life, and music has always been redemptive. Over the rambling, discordant “Hello, Voyager,” she declares, “This is my porn collection…This is me loving someone I’m not supposed to love.”
It’s a defense of art-noise excess and all the guilty pleasures the genre inevitably entails. It sounds like every member of the band is banging on whatever is within reach. But it’s a tuneful catharsis. Noise rarely sounds this pleasant.