Amateur Childbirth is the solo project of the Brisbane-based musician Ivan Matthew Hicks and his third LP Your Afterlife Is Cancelled is due out August 25th via Blackest Ever Black. Across his two previous records, Hicks’ has painted an unapologetically bleak picture of the human experience with lyrics that are darkly humorous and always unsettling. While his previous record Pripyat (Disembraining Machine) explored the “blighted belief systems of UFO worshippers,” the musician’s newest effort sets its’ sights on “religious anomalies.” Billed as Amateur Childbirth’s Christian Rock record, Hicks’ comes across as some sort of fire and brimstone preacher of the apocalypse, except there is no salvation offered here! You better bone up on your Nietzsche for this one cause not only is God dead and all your trusty idols toppled, Hicks offers only this one inevitable–the body rots. And most likely, you’ll endure its’ ultimate demise right before your eyes.
“All Doomed,” like much of the musician’s work, comes mostly unadorned with a lo-fi folk set-up and that is the perfect vehicle for Hicks’ wry, dryly delivered lyrics. In Amateur Childbirth’s vision of the world, the word “detritus” rhymes perfectly with “hepatitis,” and that serves as the backdrop on this track for a protagonist who steals across the border with a “colon full of anthrax.” Hicks goes on to relay a litany of terrors with razor sharp and evocative imagery, and just when this gets too much to bear, he’ll sneak in a black humored and surreal line like, “Your small-pox is a windmill/A cloud of doves emerge from a child’s skull,” or this wicked gem, “Your small-pox is an igloo/A hummingbird in an abortionist’s vacuum.” Brutal, yet beautiful in its’ twisted way, Amateur Childbirth is definitely not for the faint of heart.