"It's been a dizzying year for Paul Belbusti, aka Mercy Choir. Three full-length albums, a collaborative EP with avant-twang songwriter Lys Guillorn, a split EP with electro-grind producer Xrin Arms, a Connecticut Music Award nomination for "Best Other," and the birth of his first child (a son). If there's compromise in collaboration, purpose in procreation, and some noble martyrdom in spreading oneself thin, Belbusti may have saved His Noiseless Ball, His Boxwood Rattle—the third and final Mercy Choir album of the year—to act as a simple pressure valve, hissing forth unpredictably with any leftover raw expression.
His Noiseless Ball celebrates a chaotic 2013 with 14 tracks in under 33 minutes: Hyper-melodic pop bursts that would make Bob Pollard proud (the blistering mess of "Clear and Trash," the strident "Calamity John"), blown-out sonic chaos ("Cub on the Run" in its bed of distortion), anything-goes sketches ("The Republic of Coincidence" falling apart on itself, the music-box "Auld Lang Syne" introducing "Hasslewood Rock"), and—since this is in fact Mercy Choir—some subdued and lyrically rich numbers like "Acoustic Untitled Birdwatcher," with its poetic rumination and lilting synth lead, or the hook in the heart that is "Cage Act #4." (It's our luck that Belbusti can never quite suppress those folkier inclinations no matter how much clutter he creates around his work.)
The album closes with "Apostrophe Piano," a bookend to the sprawling Apostrophe Music from earlier this year, and as it happens, Mercy Choir's final statement to wrap up 2013. With its soft, meandering ivory plinks, it seems to belie the year's chaos with a simple being, a comfort navigating life's peaks and valleys and still doing the good work—prolificacy springs eternal if you can just find the valve."
released 26 November 2013
written, performed, and recorded by paul belbusti.
mastered by dan abatemarco: speakonion.com