DATE BREAKDOWN: Louise Louise Trio – “Canine Cancer”

File Under: Jazz, Improv, Classical, Metal/Screamo

At the top of my encounter with the Louise Louise Trio, although having few expectations, my ears in fact did expect to meet one or two women by the name of Louise. They instead met a non-musical, barking dog named LouLou. Hooray!

Along with LouLou, my ears were introduced to several classical instruments. Played by a “trio,” right? Nope. Checked the bandcamp page… four dudes. Four. Dudes. What a band name fellas! 

The date started off with some pretty repetitive licks/riffs/measures, with decent execution. I liked it. I was on board. Then the saxophone came in, and let me tell you, the instinct to rip the ear buds out of my ears was strong. That fucking saxophone just got my goat. If I could only change one thing about Canine Cancer, it would be removing every second of that sax. Irritating. Irritating AF. Moving on.

The music itself would be classified as jazz improv for the most part, and as such, it’s pretty hit or miss. You get a lot of talking, a lot of reptition, and a lot of barking. That short first track named after the dog is majorly skippable. Skip it. Don’t look back. Sorry LouLou. 

“Je nes pas Living/ My Life is Going to End” takes a full minute to warm up (talking, confusion, Meisner level repetition, too much saxophone) but then gets relatively enjoyable. There are some soothing sections, some bouncier material, and then more of my friend the saxophone. But if you can tune out the saxophone, it’s a good ol’ fun time. The percussion is cool, the guitars are real swell in the middle of the track, and it’s some chill shit. Then around the 9-minute mark a guy says stuff like “it will all end there in a pool of blood / my life is going to end,” and I got pretty creeped out.

“Pink Bandana” begins exactly how the previous track ended, with the band talking about “fuckery” and general messing around. There’s a brief introduction to the devilish muttering/screaming that’s to show up later on and then the track gets off its feet. From then up until the 6-minute mark is one of my favorite parts of the whole album. Total standout. (Disclaimer: unnerving chaos and screaming at the 7-minute mark, turns flat out annoying soon after.)

“Canine Cancer” starts off badly, per usual at this point, but gains ground shortly after. More repetition, a lot of which feels reminiscent of previous track’s repetition, is what I’ve come to think of as the definition of canine cancer. It’s what’s holding this album together, but more noticably what’s tearing it apart. The notion that there’s room to grow from such confines only works when the confines are left behind. More screaming mid-track, more annoying chaos at the tail end. Canine Cancer.

“Justin Joins Louise” has its moments, with the sung line “E minor is the scale” bringing me a brief moment of superb joy. More of that would be welcome. The song is easy to listen to for about 5 minutes, and I like those 5 minutes considerably. But then, ya know, chaos. That shift is what began to define the whole date. I’d be lured into a false sense of joy only to have it rudely shattered time and again. There’s no need to talk about the last track. It’s the same story. Combing jazz and Screamo-esque metal doesn’t really work most of the time, go figure. 

Note: They do mention the whole “trio” issue in the final track. They’re in on the joke. 

Highlights include the earlier (post-warm up) portions of  “Pink Bandana”  and “Justin Joins Louise”

Going on a blind date with Canine Cancer:

1.75/5 stars

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