This album does not sound like church, but its title and artwork (fluffy hat on the front, glass dagger on the back) indicate that church is its subject. This is the sound of a church in disarray – the churning, gurgling underneath, the static that obscures the holy, the breath of temptation like a dust cloud of doom, descending upon the hypocritical and impure. A dark undercurrent has accompanied church history since its inception: Crusades, indulgences, witch trials, Holocaust silence, child abuse scandals. And yet the church continues to flex its muscles over issues such as women’s rights, marriage and birth control, so sure in its sanctity that it is unwilling to tolerate dissent without calling it heresy.
There are many good churches, of course, just as there are many good priests. But Perispirit is not concerned with these. Spiritual Church Movement is a portrait of things falling apart. It’s a remarkably active recording; when it’s busy, it’s very busy, with bass, synth, alarm tones, feedback and the smacking of unidentified objects. In its “quieter” moments, we hear smatterings of dialogue, shufflings, pulses and pops. Even in the warmth of vinyl playback, it comes across as cold; Perispirit does not want to give you a hug.
While it would be easy to categorize Side A (“14th Annual Seance”) as the abstract side and Side B (“Attn: Deficit Order”) as the tempo side, this is not to imply that one could ever dance to Side B or that it would be well served by a club mix. Instead, this side simply chooses to set the pace with an occasional pattern or beat while demonic electronics fly through the air like Legion trying to avoid a pack of pigs. The center of this piece is pure pandemonium, conflict and noise, a scattering of sound to the outermost regions, like a blender thrown into a wood chipper. When melody emerges from the maelstrom, it feels like a miracle. This is the album’s greatest irony: truth is holy, no matter how ugly it may sound. (Richard Allen)