At its core, John Congleton’s, Until The Horror Goes, is a meditation on dissonance.
This record, more than most, is impossible to accurately separate into its components, words and music. Taken alone, the music is frequently off-putting. Taken alone, the melodies are incredibly catchy. Taken alone, the lyrics could read like the prose of a young writer who just discovered Nietzsche. But together, together they tear down the facade each individual part component creates and reveals the true nature of the artist.
In the hands of a lesser artist, the pieces of this record that are seemingly incongruent could be chalked up to incompetence or bad taste but looking upon Congleton’s Grammy-winning track records as a producer, that’s not a likely scenario. So what’s really going on? My take is that Congleton is acknowledging both the absurdity and wonder of life and lets the words and music tell about the fact that we are all born to die and that humanity is inherently flawed and then with the melody lets us know that through it all, life really can be a beautiful ride. If you can manage to strip away the musical ornamentation and just hear what each song on this record sounded like when written on an acoustic guitar by a guy in his bedroom, you hear what are ultimately sounds of hope, that are even joyous at times. Layer in the stylings though, and place minor progressions over major melodies, and fit words with music that doesn’t match, and it can all sound ugly at times. And that’s how life is. It is simultaneously ugly and beautiful and by acknowledging and appreciating both sides of the coin, it allows you to live in a space between. A spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down and John Congleton has created a wonderful record that showcases that quite perfectly.