Actually this is a review of the promo, but Roger were cool about incendiary printing it. All hail Roger!
My good friend, Mr. Chris Gibson, gave me this, whilst he hurriedly went from London to Leiden AND back in 24 hours, (don't ask, but before any member of the police or customs does; no, it wasn't drugs). Chris didn't say much, apart from mumbling that it was a cd of his mates' band, who had just been signed to Julian Cope's Head Heritage label, and that I'd like them because I liked Funkadelic. Fine, I thought, and put the cd aside for a few days.
What a mistake, as I wasted days NOT listening to this cd. Let me tell you that this cd has, once inserted, rarely been removed from my player, (apart from a barren few days when I had, frothing at the mouth, lent it to my funk loving Incendiary co-editor. And lo! He did froth accordingly). This album is fucking brilliant.
Starting with a Mother Ship/Maggot Brain style conversation with a higher being called Roger (who, incidentally wants us all to relax, sort out Dubya and Get Down in the name of humankind), the music builds up to a choppy groove, with coaxing vocals, reinforcing the peaceful message. This is one powerful track. Once a biting, spaceward guitar kicks in you realize, for all its obvious George Clinton-isms, (and you could become a really boring get talking about it), this is one hell of a party record.
But, just before you thought its going to settle into a mid tempo groove for the duration, "Die Baby Die" comes along white panther like, and lays down the law with some high heeled chorusing. Glam but not Glam. Prince but not Prince. I could go on but it's all too glorious to bother.
"The Kingdom of Roger" skirts about the walls like a low key Gainsbourg hanging out with Gil Scott Heron. This incidentally, is he only time I can say that I've heard a sinister sounding flute on a record. "Rock The World " is, by contrast, a full on Utopian assault. This is Iggy but silver coated, almost Blue Cheer or Sabbath like; a great big souped up Cadillac burning up on a two chord metal mantra. It's hellish, stupid and ace, in a Freesian hick student in London kinda way. "We're gonna rock the world; whatya gonna do? We're gonna rock the world".........Then it' straight back to 77-78 Parliament for "This is Serious"; the best dance track around by far; Basement Jaxx couldn't ever get near this level of gleeful intensity; Roger (our astral guide), comes in half way through with a funny-cod serious spiel which is just so fucking loony it takes the roof off.
"For Every Action" soothes us with a reflective piece on the, ahem, "questionable" arms policies of some Superpower or other. A simple sing-along chorus reinforces the message. However, one of the great strengths of this song (and indeed this cd), is that it never preaches; it always simply states its case in a funny and proactive way. "Roger Says" is a great Beastie Boys Fight for Your Right piss take; much better than its squeaky mentor. During the guitar break down near the end there are also reminders of John Spencer, Iggy, even Neu!'s more buzz-saw moments. Cool. "Sex Roger" lays down a long snake hipped groove in the interests of, (well, I'm guessing, but I reckon its sexual relations). This is so fucking cool in a light hearted way, you just can't help but embrace its spirit. When the piss take chorus of Nelly's "Hot in Here" comes in you know you are on to a classic. Eddie Hazel space guitaring saves any further need for talking. Then we are confronted by great electric slabs of Cro-Magnon intensity. "You Know what Roger Likes" is repeated over & over again over an increasingly desperate guitar duel. The mantra quality of this track is such that I've got Gong in my head (there, when was the last time anyone mentioned Gong in a review?) "Fucking Mary" is a snappy cracker of a pop song to finish off; Mary Chain guitar leads a high tempo romp; it could be the Sweet trying to escape from a rampaging carnivorous drum machine.
Well, sensational; what more do I need to do to convince you?
Words : Richard Foster