East River Pipe, Mel
1996, Merge Records
It’s hard to love anything that references New York’s East River. It’s dirty, stinky and has been the final resting place of one too many bodies. However, East River Pipe, aka F.M. Cornog, makes all that ugliness and imagery of sewage dissolve with his poppy yet lyrically somber melodies.
Mel is his third album, and like the ones that preceded and also followed, it’s a delicately dangerous addiction, a rough and somewhat melancholy look into the vulgar side of humanity. Songs like “Prettiest Whore,” “Kill the Action,” and “Beautiful Worn-Out Love,” are typical of this exploration into Cornog’s dark past. With years of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, depression and even homelessness under his belt, Cornog writes about the gritty and perilous in a raw spectacular way. In other words, East River Pipe makes tragedy look good; and Mel is the perfect example of that beautiful tragedy.
In 2011, Merge Records will release East River Pipe’s seventh album, We Live in Rented Rooms.
By: Amanda Chatel