Take Your Dead Ass Home...
Holl(i)y reviews some sounds of spring cleaning to.
J Edgar Hoova and the Body Removers - Take Yer Dead Ass Home (Head Records) myspace.com/jedgarhoova
A Hoova has more street credibility than a hoover: Fact. The hoover has merits of its own, of course, providing as it does a simple means of removing mud, dust and other detritus from the household carpet and also being a fertile source of interview questions for this very fanzine. But it does not sound like a cross between Motorhead and The Stooges and it must therefore bow before JEHoova&tBRs.
As one might expect from a band with such an ostentatiously over the top name, JEHoova&tBRs' approach to rock'n'roll is of the full-on, sneering theatricality bent, and it works best when that tendency to caricatured noise is most indulged. The occasional trumpets, the chorus consisting of a jerkily simple repetition of the excessively emphasised phrase "You don't fuck with Roger"; the instructions to an unseen offender to "Get off my grounds/RELEASE THE HOUNDS!" and the ensuing howling-dog noises are all highlights, and have in common a gleeful playing to stereotype. When that glee gets turned down, however, and they start playing it more straight and serious, the record loses much of its appeal and its formulaic nature becomes all too apparent. Fortunately, however, this only happens on one of the five songs - and the rest of the time, this is delightfully good fun in all its predictable exuberance. Good Motor-Stooging, those men.
Citizen Erased - Citizen Erased EP www.overplay.co.uk/citizenerased
I suspect that this wants to sound epic and worthy. However, it only succeeds in sounding annoying. There are some good bits, I'll give 'em that: a suitably boding rattling drum intro; some good soundscapey weaves of instruments; reasonably unpredictable structuring; lots of cathedral-worthily majestic touches.
However, these Good Ideas are slotted into a general picture which alternately sounds like the dullest bits of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours as conceived by Bono with a bad cold and The Smashing Pumpkins attempting to fit in at a folk festival. It's a bit sad that something so clearly invested with thought and effort has wound up so determinedly dreary; proof if proof be need be that you don't have to be inspirationally impoverished to end up sounding like a rainy Sunday in January. Ho hum.
My Device - Nervous System (Shifty Disco)
Almost viciously eclectic, this album is a strobe-lights-on-the-(barn)dance-floor confusion of folky/country/rock'n'rolly influences, holding little in common besides jerking, high-speed beats and a sneeringly desperate sarcasm in the delivery. Apparently determined above all to be impossible to ignore, it constantly drags the listener's attention back with screaming changes in mood and tempo - crashing drums, whirlwind guitars, vocals suddenly racked with dispirited rage and on occasion, just for the sake of balance, a song which is simply wrenchingly heartwringing. It often ought to be melodramatic, but nothing infused with this much unstable energy could ever manage to wallow in itself. When seemingly backed against a wall of sound, My Device always manage to use it as a springboard into wilder, more skitterish heights.
Which adds up to a record which is both wilfully weird and sporadically affecting, and which contains both tunes and oddity in pleasing measures. Leaving the listener simultaneously unable to imagine how to overcome the logistical challenge that dancing to this would present and determined to try anyway, it makes the nerve endings twitch and spark spontaneously generated energy which demands to be released on the - on any - dancefloor. Angry and life affirming, sarcastic and genuine, challenging and enjoyable listening and generally a fun day out for the ears of all the family. Except the song about the miserable kitten in the cage who becomes the reluctant repository of a dysfunctional family's thwarted needs for affection. That might upset the children somewhat.
Dead Next Door - Time to Fight (Prison Records) www.deadnextdoor.co.uk
Example #1 of why you should never judge a band by their name, album artwork, song titles or press photo (unless you can wring some cheap humour out of it, of course) - every aesthetic aspect of this band screams either METAL! or PUNK OLDSKOOL! and in fact they're of the 80s indie bent. Who'd've thunk it? Not I, that's for sure.
So yes: 80s indie noise. Very, very clean cut 80s indie noise. A bit "America TV Show Prom Disco Special Guests" Well, maybe that's not fair. There're actually a fair few redeeming features to this; a fair few moments when the noise forgets itself for a while and transcends its own bland acceptability to catch the attention and make the listener go "Oooh - that was actually quite affecting". But then it sinks back down into background noise dirge, and you can almost hear the affectedly scandalised voices say "What - has Johnny not come with Mary?!" and almost see the crowd of underpaid extras swaying vaguely around the lead characters
Dead Next Door clearly have an ear for a decent hook, but unfortunately they also have an ear for lowest common denominator background noise. And it's the latter of their two talents that predominates here, and by the end of the CD the listener is mainly bored. Shame. But it's good to be able to think that they might do better one day
The Bloom - Rinsing Boots
Some rather clever cover art and a swanky press release claiming that this is "infectiously happy" cannot hide the fact that it is actually complete and utter gubbins. Laid back, chilled out, easy listening gubbins. Funk which isn't funky; a song called Aphrodesia which beats off stiff* competition from several comers to set new standards for Utterly Unsexy Noise; calls to dance on tables which're set to a beat too lethargic to even snore in time to. I'd call it elevator music were it not for the fact that it's far too irritating for anyone to risk inflicting it on the general public without their express written permission, for fear of lawsuits and possibly even axe-wielding. It is quite inexcusable, and it makes my teeth hurt. Not recommended.
*or possibly limp
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