Burdened and gathered, agonised and locked
Well there’s certainly pretension involved when looking at the lyrics, though I can’t say they’re so cringy that you’d feel repulsed. Still pretty… uhhh. Richey’s style and my taste just do not agree. But it’s an intriguing read anyway, just a list of abusive words.
Pretension/Repulsion is the shortest song on its parent album and it’s one of those moments that just flash by quickly, a small bite-size interlude disguised as a proper song. Starts almost R.E.M.-like with a very Peterbuckesque guitar jangle opening the song before Sean’s snare-rolling loving drums kick in. The chorus breaks the relative tranquility of a verse with Rocking Manics Chorus ™ and it’s cool. It’s a nifty chorus, Journal for Plague Lovers in general has some really good choruses so this isn’t an exception.
But Pretension/Repulsion just can’t shake away the fact that at two minutes and four seconds it’s finished almost as soon as it’s started and it just fails to leave much impression while in the album context. Sure, I can see that it’s a good track now that I’m listening to it outside its place as track 11 on Journal for Plague Lovers, but on the album it just breezes by and fails to leave much impression afterwards. I’ve got nowt against short songs in itself but Pretension/Repulsion suffers from the fact that it never really develops, it just comes and goes quickly.
As an additional little detail, the chorus’ vocal melody is very different in the demo. The low-sung, calm melody completely clashes with the music but in doing so it ends up being better than the final version. Something quirkily enchanting in it.
The Four/Tet remix is one of the better works in the Journal for Plague Lovers remix project. The first half is intriguingly chaotic with the endless instrumental loops and merged vocal clips, but then the song subtly and slowly morphs into something that’s wonderfully relaxing and atmospheric. Everything’s augmented with calm, beautiful keyboard twinkles. The cunning transition is rather cool.