A slightly unexpected shift from Chicago’s Mac Blackout on his latest solo release, his first for hometown label Trouble in Mind. When Blackout last left the sphere seven years ago, he was caked in the crust of lo-fi punk, glam runoff, and twitching post-punk tremors. After a few years off to focus on visual art he’s come back with a shifted sensibility, throwing himself into the arms of free jazz and creeping synth. Love Profess bears no hallmarks of his time deluged in garage sweat — a calmer, yet still oddly fraught record that throws out the rock impulses completely. Out of the gate Blackout is squalling and tossed into the digital froth, splitting his time between the new wave of Out players over at Astral Spirits and the fragile synth landscapes at Ghost Box. The record toes those lines well, injecting a sense of wounded wonder into the mix that reverberates through to the last moments.
Wide and wandering one moment and lost and swirling the next, Blackout reacts to a current sense of frustration and bewilderment. His sax does its best to tie up the neurons without burning the ends. There’s a creeping mania to the runs but nothing that truly melts the plastic coating. That’s not to say that this album is playing safe. There’s hope and fear in Blackout’s compositions, and the uncertainty about which pole should dominate resonates quite rightly with any listener having spent the better part of 2020 conscious and crumbling. It’s not the record I was expecting from Mac Blackout anytime soon, but it works as a new chapter of aural sweat from the artist.
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