'Carnival of Souls' is the second release of the new album cycle begun with 2013's Lady From Shanghai. A number of the songs were developed from an underscore composed for the movie Carnival of Souls, performed by The Pere Ubu Film Group in July 2013.
In November 2013, a 'shock troops' version of the band toured in France, Italy, Croatia, the UK and Ireland playing the songs as works-in-progress. The tour was called 'Visions Of The Moon.'
The cd and vinyl releases are slightly different. The vinyl release does not include the song 'Brother Ray.' The cd release does not include the five 'Strychnine Interludes.' The reason is straight-forward: 'Brother Ray' is twelve minutes long and would not fit on the vinyl without serious fidelity compromises. (LP sides much over eighteen to twenty minutes in length are not possible without consequences.) Keith Molinè came up with five minute-long pieces he conceived as links between songs. These were added to the vinyl running order. Keith describes the method he used for the 'Interludes':
"The 'Strychnine Interludes' are based on a single, time-stretched note of the guitar riff played at the head of 'Road To Utah.' Melodies from 'Drag The River,' 'Visions Of The Moon,' and 'Bus Station' appear out of shortwave interference as radio call signs. The unidentified radio voices are David Thomas reading 'Last Of The Mohicans.' 'Strychnine 5' has Morse code spelling out 'Merdre Merdre.'"
The vinyl LP package contains a card with a free download code for acquiring the 'Brother Ray' track. Those who buy the cd directly from Fire will get a free download code for all tracks, including the 'Strychnine Interludes.'
An 'Irene'/'Moonstruck' download single was released June 30 2014. The b-side is a Molinè / Gagarin non-album remix of the song 'Drag The River.'
The 'Golden Surf II'/'Throb Array' download single, released August 8 2014, featured a b-side that was a Molinè / Gagarin non-album remix of the song 'Brother Ray.'
Darryl Boon is the newest member of the group. A clarinetist, he is an enthusiastic advocate of Dixieland. David met him as he played in an otherwise ordinary jazz group appearing at David's local in Hove.
Produced by David Thomas.
Engineered by Paul Hamann at Suma, Painesville OH. Stephen Hague mixed 'Golden Surf II' and 'Bus Station.'
'Brother Ray' was recorded at Močvara, Zagreb, engineered by Jasmin Dasovic. Portions of 'Golden Surf II' and 'Dr Faustus' were recorded by Nadan Rojnić at The Village, Dublin. Vinyl cut by Pete Norman at Finyl Tweek in London, on a Neumann VMS80 lathe.
Artwork by Alexandre Horne.
Typography and package design by John Thompson.
Pere Ubu (v.9.5)
David Thomas - vocals, XioSynth
Keith Molinè - guitar
Robert Wheeler - EML Electrocomp 101, Theremin, iPad
Gagarin - digital electronica
Darryl Boon - clarinet
Michele Temple - bass guitar
Steve Mehlman - drums, percussion, Roland Drum Pad, backing vocals
"There is a tendency in reviews of Pere Ubu to assume that their spirit is to be admired more than their actual music, that they deserve credit more for being consistently bizarre than for being consistently brilliant. It tends to result in each new Pere Ubu record being received as 'just another Pere Ubu record.' Carnival of Souls is not just a new Pere Ubu album. This is the sound of a band that has upheld remarkably high standards over a four decade career. This is the latest highlight in a long list of very genuine standouts." Drowned In Sound
"We can only bow humbly before such consistency, creativity, integrity and modesty. This is a timeless record, which sails the seas on its own." Stéphane Deslauriers, Deslauriers
"The band remain as weird, wonderful and uniquely off-planet as ever." Ged M, SoundsXP.com
"This album, much like the majority of their canon, is superb. Ratings and critical words are totally unnecessary at this point: This is a Pere Ubu album. It is exactly what you expect and exactly what you don't. The variety and subtlety and diversity and ferocity of this collection defies belief. The value of the name 'Pere Ubu' and the artistic, iconoclastic nature of David Thomas have never been more potent. Put simply, we need Pere Ubu more than they need us." The Line of Best Fit
"Garage-rock brutalists - Like wild-eyed prophets who see more deeply into what's really going on than you do, they bracingly swat aside life's charade with blistering irony, mad whimsy and raging conviction." Q Magazine, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"A risk taking, empathetic group mind at work." The Wire
"With so much music codified into genres and artists reluctant to alienate an audience, Pere Ubu remain refreshingly abrasive, marginal and theatrically challenging." Graham Reid, The New Zealand Herald
"Deliciously hearty, confrontational sound." Edwin Hofman, Written in Music (NL)
"After four decades quite how any act can continue to make challenging and enthralling music to the degree shown on 'Carnival of Souls' is a mystery." The Digital Fix
"A thrilling album that raises expectations for the trilogy's final installment to the skies." Heather Phares, AllMusic
"Stinging and abrasive, full-bodied rock and nutritious - Songs that hit the center of the mind - Enveloping." Libero (Italy)
"Led by one of rock's few truly inimitable voices, David Thomas and Pere Ubu add to an already impressive discography with Carnival of Souls. Still restless and bursting with ideas." The Vinyl District
"All players are connected here, the instrumentation serving as part of the conversation throughout the whole of the record. A carnivalesque parade of familiar reference points woven into a pastiche of otherworldly displacement." Ed Whitelock, Pop Matters