In some ways I feel quite guilty about reviewing this album.
In some ways I feel quite guilty about reviewing this album. Yes, I know that's a strange admission for a reviewer to make, especially as the source of the guilt has nothing to do with any shared past that myself and Myles McInnnes may have. Not that we have any, by the way. The McInnes I bull-whipped in the Lion House at Rotterdam zoo was a different man altogether.
No. My guilt is garnered from a different source. My guilt is best expressed as a shame-faced admission that, contrary to all my normal (and usually bellowed) preconceptions, I like this album. For this album is planted firmly in Fifty Quid Bloke territory. It's hanging out round Moby's manor. It reeks of coffee bars, slack pants with no ass, nouveau mullets, slouching, the reading of liberal newspapers, understated knitwear and sheepskin rugs. Listeners to this album will lie awake worrying about fishing quotas. That sort of stuff. And I hate that sort of stuff. But I like this album.
Why? Well, I like its insistence, its simplicity, its gaudy, naff, tinselly hooks. It is utterly Neolithic, Luddite, monolithic, and brash in its confidence. It has a brilliant "Klaus Dinger was a robot" drum beat. There. That's why I like it. Not convinced yet? Hmm. On reflection, it does sound like I'm doing a back handed slag off job. Okay, I'll try a little harder and describe three tracks for you. Then you can go and check it out.
"In My Arms" Starts in a spare, feral DAF landscape, but, aided and abetted by ethereal synth voices, the music soon warms up and takes shape as a kind of elegiac bittersweet teenage anthem. Listeners to crap radio stations will applaud the cheeky use of a cheesy riff from a mid eighties song (the name of which, for both artist and song, I can't bloody remember). I don't applaud it, but I can't help grooving along. It is infectious, and listening to it always almost makes this reviewer wish he could get into a time machine and travel back through time just so he could make a better fist of that first snog behind the Gym hall that held the "Rollerama" disco.
"Destroy Rock n Roll", by contrast, is much more sinister and funny. It is introduced by a mad lawyer type, who exhorts God (and even the President), to ban lots of Rock and Roll dudes, who, by creating sinful and lascivious videos, are helping Satan to ensnare the hearts of young people. Shit, I never realized that was the case. A list of the offenders' names is then read out. And what a list, oh reader. Billy Joel, Van Halen, Fashion, Duran Duran, Reo Speedwagon; yep, they're all guilty. All this is backed up by a thumping, nagging beat. When you hear the verbal castigation of Cher, you will whoop in delight I do not doubt. And I quite agree. The works of Cher, Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis and the News and Cyndi Lauper should never be played whilst children are present.
Okay kids, one more description.
"Musclecar Reform Reprise" has a fabulously glossy, Eurotrash, high eighties feel to it. It's so bloody simple and effective. A female voice, hewn from a block of ice, coos invitingly over a slobbery, skuzzy, mayonnaise frying sound. The beat kicks in and, all of a sudden, you're pool-side, watching a water volleyball match twixt Sabrina and Boris Becker. Good eh? This is very reminiscent of vintage Yello, maybe even a great track for Laibach to cover.
Right. I've described three tracks, so that's enough reviewing; which comes as a blessed relief, since every time I've tried to review this CD I've ended up putting down my pen, turning up the volume and grooving quietly away to myself, nodding my bonce and tapping my feet whilst doing useless shit around the house. You've probably guessed by now that "Destroy Rock and Roll" is out of the same stylistic, 'cultural', 'lifestyle' stable as Moby's "Play"; in that everyone will hear it (probably through adverts), every party at some point will play it, everyone will pretend to be blase about it whilst secretly doing the hoovering to it. And so what? Just enjoy it.
Words: Richard Foster