Volcano! – Paperwork
It might not sound like it, but this is an unashamed pop record. Forget all the crashes and bangs and strident noise, cleverly applied. Nope, underneath all the paraphernalia you’ve got charming, quirky pop with hooks, choruses, and canny build ups of tension. Performance Evaluation Shuffle, for all the noise (for the song’s title for that matter) is as traditional a pop song as you could wish.
I’m not knocking that; it’s a definite string to the band’s bow, but do Volcano! want to be seen as pop artists? Who knows? As they always say, it ain’t what you do; it’s the way you do it… There are moments that they sound like a deranged Sparks, such as Africa Just Wants to Have Fun. Even this track, which at first listen sounds like a jumble of phrases and attitudes - doubtless there to show how eclectic they can be - contains the strong grid of a great glam pop song. It’s just sped up or stretched at various points.
Anyway it’s an entertaining listen, as the distortion keeps you on your toes. The grandiose Tension Loop alternates between Can-style keyboards and romantic wailing. At times it’s a bit like Beefheart at his most playful. Stop start stuff like 78 Oil Crisis and Sweet Tooth are very much in the style of Pere Ubu, albeit a softer Ubu with melodramatic concerns.
All in all it’s a very enjoyable LP; just don’t be put off by the arty moniker.
Words: Richard Foster