The great thing is that you never feel you’re being conned. Unlike all those awful, gauche attempts at amateurism churned out on nice little labels this past decade...this is a proper band, with a beat, with sex appeal and a sort of weird focus.
This is great, it really is. And take note, this isn’t your common or garden listen as we are entering a world that is very much defined by its own rules. There’s something disconcerting about the fact that this is really (really) fab pop music but pop music that has somehow evolved from a set of people who have totally disconnected ideas about what pop is. It’s got that feel of Ostrich Churchyard or History of The World; a view on life through a different lens.
The great thing is that you never feel you’re being conned. Unlike all those awful, gauche attempts at amateurism churned out on nice little labels this past decade, unlike all those fashionably quiet sub-Belle and Sebastian drips who should never been let near a guitar in the first place, (just people celebrating their own safety and lack of imagination), this is a proper band, with a beat, with sex appeal and a sort of weird focus. Hell even the artwork’s got more spunk than those appalling “line drawings” that have been defiling covers these days.
No, think more Inner City Sound, think Beefheart, The Seeds and Moondog. The beat is all over – and I mean literally all over the place. It’s impossible to pin down, impossible not to enjoy listening. Opener La Rat is a happy enough sound, but the line “there are people that hate you” sticks in your mind long after the track’s finished. Sea Shanty is some kind of 60’s waltz replete with a completely inappropriate guitar wig out that looks to drive to you to distraction with its disconnected vibe. The brass comes in and we could be listening to Laughing Clowns. It’s a scream. Mary Lu is a paranoid take on some relationship replete with a bawling chorus that sounds like a two year old yelling for dinner. Then we have a sort of slowie that sounds like a bunch of 12 year olds practising in a bedroom. Why is it called Panther Fight? I can’t think of anything less likely to soundtrack one. Dada Creep sounds like Blondie pissed out of their minds whereas Vague Notion starts deep in Pink Fairies territory, and is a brilliant psych out. What’s it doing on here? Then some kind of stupid call and answer song called Master/Slave sets up A Year On Your Own – possibly the most definitive track on here in terms of sound and title – and it completely fucks your head around. It’s like being in a lecture with no idea what the prof’s rabbiting about. But you know there has to be a point to it somewhere. Later we get some marvellous stomps in Hamish & Chips and Got To Eat and then some awful blues work outs called the Bones of Dr White and (We Don’t Need To) Listen, like Harvey Smith flicking the v’s to the assorted toffs.
The idiot “rock critic” in me really hopes they split up, right now, because we have this, we have this.