Bitter Lake at The Rickshaw Stop, by Patric Carver
Bitter Lake (photo: Terry Gatechair)

I first saw Jason Myles on stage as part of the duo La Fin Absolute Du Monde, a heavy industrial unit that melted the faces of PRF barbecue attendees a few years back. Myles and former bandmate Cynthia Dawn destroyed the boundary that sits between noise and sound; La Fin was imposing, edge-pushing, and terribly exciting. They burned hot, so I wasn’t exactly surprised when they went up in flames. I was, however, disappointed.

Enter Myles’ latest project Bitter Lake.

Bitter takes off where La Fin left off, filling the space with jagged and well-placed noise. To say that Myles’ vocals are anything short of predatory raptor status would be an insult to Myles and the flying killing machines that his voice evokes so well. I can’t imagine that a mouse in the house was not quivering with uncertain anticipation given the tone of his screeches and shouts. Myles, joined on stage by a full band this time, has put down his guitar for the time being and I think the focus has really allowed his vocals to shine.

Bitter’s guitar is picked up by Todd Buller and Nick Young, who complement each other nicely on stage, giving space for the absurdity of the arrangements to shine without making the pieces into soupy chaos. This was probably best heard on their song, “Rat Food” which was a real highlight of the evening. Desperate and twisting, the guitar kept Myles’ lyrics digestible even when they were at their most gruesome.

Bitter Lake is reflective of the times we’re living in, encapsulating the pain of our shameful political state alongside the passion of people striving for better.

It’s hard to swallow, but I look forward to taking another drink.