Romantic Threat is illusory music; a shimmering, surreal amusement park with a nauseating funhouse as a premier attraction, loud hollers of ‘roll up, roll up, get your hot dogs here‘ from the food stalls, and high-pitched cries drunk on helium emanating from the mouths of eight-foot-tall cartoon characters. As if that wasn’t surreal enough, they parade around the streets, signing autographs. But storm clouds are on the horizon. This isn’t The Happiest Place On Earth™ .
Its ambient tones swirl around the room like FUBAR’d rides in a drugged-up Disney World. A rollercoaster zooms past, thundering through the gates of a castle in its Magic Kingdom, architecture fit for a princess, uh-huh, when in reality the whole she-bang was built by workers, i.e. slaves, struggling on the minimum wage. Oh, boy!!
Romance can be true or illusory, lustful or lovely. As sweet as chocolate or as sickly as a splash of vomit. Don’t eat that hot dog! Those hot dogs look tasty and tempting, but they’re not going to do you any favours. Just look at the calorie intake.
That strangely designed mascot is a little too cartoonish, and its black dots seem to follow you around the room, coming across as grotesque and odd. Romantic Threat‘s map is like the Horrorland park in Goosebumps with its fixed smiles at photo collection areas and its locked exits. Something isn’t quite right here. The perfume is pungent, overwhelmingly so. Date night carries a thrumming, under-the-radar threat. Romance is a rollercoaster (the unrequited lovers are never allowed to get off, as much as they’re desperate to), catching you unawares. Sometimes, Cupid uses a bear trap instead of an arrow, ensnaring a victim, and love can throw you into the ride without the safety of a seatbelt. Things just feel off here. Because when you’re on the ride, you’re unaware of potential dangers, and there’s also no way to disembark.
At other times, the ambient music settles down, passing through a Tunnel of Love peacefully, the two-seater gliding over the surface of an ambient pink lake with a flow as smooth as candyfloss. Soft sighs are elicited from lipstick-covered lips. Her perfume hovers over untroubled waters.
Richard Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone conjures up a stalking threat that develops when a romantic interlude turns sour, lurking in the cobwebbed corners of a Ghost Train ride, or recalling the decade-old murder that took place in the depths of the funhouse. The killer was never found…
Growing increasingly eerie and ominous, the atmosphere darkens as the park empties come ten o’clock. Like a jilted lover, the music haunts and threatens to turn even darker. Absent of fireworks, the only sound is a distant one, and that’s the sound of the sea as it claws at the shore, the white-tipped surf breaking against the hard sand, and the wind wafting over the hazy sequins of late-night-lights. The music darkens even more, as if love has truly been lost, or given up on. Going its own way and moving on after a summer fling.
Enjoy your vacation. Enjoy the intoxication. (James Catchpole)