“Gut” is the original soundtrack to an indie movie about some very disturbing videos and their devastating effect on the two very middle-class friends who watch them. In a wonderfully low-budget backstory, Chvad SB is said to have sat himself down in front of the television with the film on and sweated his way through its composition, striving to capture the brokenness of its characters, hunched over the guitar in his lap.
It begins a little raw but soft, evoking the quotidian numbness felt by the lead role, until some quiver edges its way into “The Talk”. Hearts begin to race arrhythmically on “Under Skin” and “Tense at Work”, where Chvad SB treats his guitar strings more like percussion instruments. A single hard, electric volt leaps from the midst of “Poison”, a track otherewise poised and coiled.
“Love Your Wife” is the shortest and spookiest track, especially in juxtaposition with the title, a foreboding drone that sets the stage for the excruciatingly drawn-out moral struggle that begins tentatively with “The Transition”, pricks at the listener with single, diamond-hard notes on “Detachment” and grows creepier as the tracks grow longer, stretching to four, five, six minutes. And yet even as the strain begins to show, Chvad SB continues to advance at a snail´s pace, fixated on the details of each note and its echo. The first distorted blast since “Poison” punctuates the second half of “The Call the Fight”, after which comes the disoriented haze of “Drive” and “The End of Things”, a little opus in itself that is the closest thing to a typical, cave-echoing horror flick chill.
For a story about alienation and objectification, “Gut” is an admirably restrained, characterful album fraught with tension without offering release.