"There are some sublime moments here, especially on the track Dead Mellotron, which is completely off the wall and is the proud possessor off lyrics such as “A dead mellotron in my basement cut in half by barbarians”. Fabulous.
Neon Blonde – Chandeliers in the Savannah
You can't beat a bit of shouting over a sparse, intense sonic backdrop now can you? Black Cactus Killers doesn't mess about; 5 seconds in and already it's a scream-fest. And you know what? This bunch have some engagingly bonkers lyrics to scream as well.
"Black cactus choir in Neon Savannah. Assassins with tusks and glasses streak into our black cactus baskets."
Erm... right on.
Crystal Beaches Never Turned Me On is somewhat quieter, favouring an electro backdrop to frame the dwarf-scream madness. It does sound like the feller from ACDC with lungs full of helium. Maybe the band realized this because Chandeliers and Vines is sung in a more conventional manner. The piano-led melody could be a Liza Minelli song if it wasn't for the bonkers lyrics.
"Another scum's flipped out on the icy mountain. There's blood everywhere and smoke and chips of bone. But I won't stop to help him because I'm driving to my favourite motel so I can watch CNN and Full House and MTV"
Princess Skullface Sings is very much like the Pop Group with its choppy rhythms and stop-start attitude; at times it has the brat-squeal of Babes in Toyland's Ripe, except it doesn't let up, or have the introspective moments (however brief) that Ripe possesses. New Detroit is similarly full-on; an operatic chorus breaking up the jerky scream-athon that constitutes the verses. Headlines is another piano stomp remniscent of the Charlie Brown theme tune at times. The song itself deals with pretty horrific issues, the death by burning of a teenage prostitute. As with a lot of stuff referred to in this LP (somewhat obliquely at times) the subject matter is pretty unwholesome stuff dealt with in a pretty head-on way. Love Hounds seems to be about robbery and murder, albeit with a cracking chorus among the yelling and the clanging. There are some sublime moments here, especially on the track Dead Mellotron, which is completely off the wall and is the proud possessor off lyrics such as "A dead mellotron in my basement cut in half by barbarians". Fabulous.
The engagingly titled Cherries in Slow Motion is a song built on a shuddering piano riff, a riff that gives the rest of the music some shape. The story told by this sing is yet another Memento Mori. Despite this depressing parade of subject matter, one can't but help be cheered by the incredible song titles, I don't think there's a band about with such mad monikers (not since the Great Guided by Voices stopped anyway). Get this; The Future is a Mesh Stallion. The track in question is pretty cool too; Brammah-era Fall riffs compete with a very strange story about a "paradise celebration in the house of dark green glass". Suddenly (as if from nowhere children) a full-on New Order style dance track is imposed willy-nilly mid song. Quite shocking I can tell you. The final number on this cerebral and calming chill-out CD is Wings Made out of Noise, a strangely muted affair which nevertheless seems to deal with suicide. Great. It is lucky that I am possessed with a healthy, sometimes overbearing sense of irony. Still I enjoyed this listen.
Not for the faint hearted.
Words: Richard Foster.