New York’s Margaret Chardiet has released her fourth album, Devour, under her self-made music project Pharmakon. This is the first project Chardiet recorded in a live studio, sequentially allowing the album to reach its unbearable, yet controllable, noise and distortion. The album reflects on self-destructiveness, agony, pain and yes, even cannibalism. The direction is electrifying, raw and jarring to the ear, the record unapologetically stands out in the way it is misunderstood. The album begs you proceed with caution.
The seven songs on the record all amount to the same level of disfigurement in tonality. Both “Devour – Side A” and “Side B” have an electrifying bass blasting out as screechy synthesizer pads engulf the background. Chardiet’s vocals storm in, warping back and forth, marinated in crazy wavering effects. The songs are obnoxious, loud and very much punk. She screams absurd words, nonetheless, they have a cutting edge.
So yes, maybe this record will eventually hurt your ears with its booming identity, but the undeniable uniqueness of Pharmakon’s sound is quite addicting. Everything is distorted and warping, like a pool full of noise tinted with high-frequency fuzz. It’s like a terrible, outrageous nightmare with painful moans keeping you up at night, a terrorizing record in a good way. “Homeostasis” has this punchy, fuzzed-out bass that hits hard. “Spit It Out” features murmuring whispers of distortion, eventually turning into a vulnerable creepiness. The song sounds like it was sampled off a construction site, with jarring, hammering sounds. Chardiet’s vocals are witchy, screamo and coarse, straight out of a horror movie.
“Self-Regulating System” palpitates inside your ear, and “Deprivation” continues with Chardiet’s vocals annihilating anything in their path. The record finishes with “Pristine Panic/Cheek by Jowl,” a track where the electrifying guitar gets twisted and churned by a killer amplifier, destroying any potential of tempo or rhythm.
This record is loud, ambitious and ultimately satisfying. No one has the drive that Chardiet demonstrates in her music, perhaps because it’s a scary place to be in. However, Devour is a record that asks to not be excused, that does whatever it wants to do. It’s pure punk, pure rebellion. So what if you blast your ears off, it’s an experience that many won’t even attempt to create, and that should make you want to listen.