Master Cafeine is, amongst other things, a “chick with a dick and a guy with lipstick”.
Ahh, the vanity and assurance of youth...
He does go on a bit, this singer; what with writing the songs and co-producing the whole LP (bar a cover of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne); he must have confidence by the barrel load. It certainly seems to be the case, after all he is pouting like fury (behind bug-eyed glasses) on the cover, and especially so when you bear in mind that his moniker is Xavier Cafeine (the accents that adorn his last "name", grave and umlaut respectively, are missing, cos I don't know how to do them on me keyboard, but I thought I'd better tell you cos it might give you a better mental picture of the man.) Not to be undone, the rest of the band are called Eric Sonic, Alex Caliber, and Sam Cafeine. Lordy...
Evidence of an "up an' at 'em" pop attitude is supplied within about three seconds of the opening track, Hong Kong Baby (key lyric; "I'm a Hong Kong baby") where we are told that Master Cafeine is, amongst other things, a "chick with a dick and a guy with lipstick". He's a Hong Kong Baby.
Track two, I Am Chemical confirms this left of centre approach to living. (The key lyric? "I am Chemical"). M'neer Cafeine contrasts his naughty ways with that of a girl he knows, who is "so pure".
Bad Habits (key lyric; "I've got bad habits") is about his dangerous lifestyle (when you are making music it helps incontestably if you have a bad, dangerous lifestyle). He warns young girls in the song that he is dangerous, and they must approach him with caution (but, I hope, charitable curiosity). Track four, Fine, (key lyric; "I'm fine") reassures any girls who, by this stage of the album's progress, must surely be worrying if our hero will make it through to track eleven, (yes, there's seven more to do).
At this stage, you may be wondering what this album sounds like. After all, I must remember that I am conducting a pop music review. So a brief word about the music is what you'll get, before we move on. It reminds me of Busted covering Aerosmith who, in turn, are doing a set of Ziggy era Bowie tunes as light relief between never-ending versions of "Walk This Way". Brief enough for you? Next track...
Glad it was You (key words; "I'm the only one who'll lick your scars"), sees a brief switch of subject matter from the lead singer's navel to a girl he knows, who's "fuckin' up" on those chemical substances I believe are known as recreational drugs. He's spotted her father too, who's obviously as bad as his daughter, cos he's not lookin' well and his jeans are all "floppy". Maybe he's Ian Brown. Still, never fear, little girl, Mr Cafeine will help you overcome your problems.
Suzanne is a merciful relief, due to two reasons. Firstly, it's played straight, which leads directly to the second reason; namely we can appreciate Leonard Cohen's beautiful lyrics, which of course outshine anything Mr Cafeine has penned so far.
Just before you felt the band had a mid-album change of heart, (and change of lyricist), we are crushed into submission by three more glam-rockers, Punk Rock Samurai (key lyric; "I'm a punk rock samurai"), Sweet tooth, (key lyric; "I've got a sweet tooth") and Tourist Love Song (key lyric, "I'm a tourist").
Things get slightly better with the last two tracks, Sze Sze and New God (key lyric; "I'm a new god"), mainly due to the fact that the band shut Mr Cafeine up long enough for them to play, and for us to hear the music which, especially with New God becomes quite pleasant in a teeny pop way.
My prediction? It'll sell bucketloads.
Words : Richard Foster