Tricks or Treats: Chris Bathgate – “Creak, Cure, Dawn”

October is upon us, but we’re not all the way into horror-movie mode yet. To cross that bridge, how about a little treat to warm us up for some trickery? Chris Bathgate’s “Creak, Cure, Dawn”, off of 2006’s Throatsleep, is a jangly, slightly disturbing way to kick off autumn.

Once you press play, a few quiet taps of a single chime echo ever so briefly, before a deep, driving distortion melts your speakers, evolving gradually into Bathgate’s bare, haunted vocals. Tinged with folksy guitar and ominous key changes, the lyrics really sell it, a memento mori for the upcoming season. “I learned to sing from the gallow’s creak,” he howls, before devolving directly back into the fuzzy, alarming distortion. A later verse implores, “Your red light screams like a buzzing bomb”—a tantalizing pause, and everything explodes back into noise. The coda (“creak, cure, dawn”) comes again and again, in a way that both possesses and lacks meaning—where are we going with this? It may not be somewhere rational. Welcome to fall, kids. Hey, was that a shadow behind you just now?


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