Death In June – Brown Book (1987)

Death In June is one strange-ass project. For something as simple as acoustic, folky shit, DIJ sure do have a wide, eccentric discography. Brown Book is pretty weird. Death In June’s lazy campfire strumming and monotone vocal meets 80s-to-the-max drum programming and fairly awful female vocals. It kinda sounds like a poor man’s mid-career Swans. I might be slightly biased here however, and even factually incorrect as Death In June were doing this kind of thing first.

Although, for some reason that isn’t entirely clear to me yet, I quite like this. Perhaps it is because I am pretty interested in some other DIJ material, and this is just a perplexing variant on that sound. It is almost soothing, yet at the same time quite unsettling. “Red Dog – Black Dog” is like a cross between a lullaby and a nightmare. “Hail! The White Grain” and “Runes And Men” must be deliberately Third Reich-y? “We Are The Lust” is almost ritual like, with thumping percussion, haunting synth work and chanted vocal mantra. “Burn Again” rounds everything off with a menacing yet pensive tone.

Make what you will of the nazi-related imagery (but they ain’t nazis, yo – it’s art, see?), but all in all this is a pretty interesting recording, if you have an open mind.