Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mass Cult Suicide - s/t

Mass Cult Suicide
Off the Hip

Mass Cult Suicide leader Dan Trolley is a character. Out of what novel or flick it’s hard to say, but he’s definitely not one of us. The Australian singer/songwriter/keyboardist has the veneer of a hard-bitten lounge lizard, a guy who’s wiser than his years due to everything he’s seen and done. But world-weariness is not the jacket he wears – he’s too busy trying to get in the pants of every woman in the bar to wallow in self-pity. He guides the noisy groove of his band with a sure hand, no matter how much he’s had to drink – the booze only steadies his gait. There’s a definite strain borrowed from barroom philosophizers like Nick Cave and Gallon Drunk, but the musicians’ aggression owes more to the Stooges, the Velvet Underground and the Cramps. The band even throws in some Sonic Youth skronk on occasion. It’s an appropriate soundtrack to Trolley’s blurred visions, illuminated by a streak of dark introspection running through tunes like Last Night I Got Drunk, Where is the Fun? and Everybody’s in Debt (ain’t it the truth). But Trolley hasn’t been beaten down – he rises up from the floor after every thrashing life gives him, pulling out his comb, winking at the ladies and calling for another round.

- Michael Toland
Cliff Richard - Just About As Good As It Gets
Smith & Co

Ok so in this instance the series' title is oxymoronic enough to stump the most erudite Oxford professor / philosopher but if ever there were a case for Lemmy's maxim of there's two types of music good and shit then here is one. Leavin' aside the never-too-snide snipes at the self-sanctifying unctuous git and the shadow cast by his egregiousness smugacity he really was the UK's contender for Rock-crown with dad of Kim so thankin' ye kindly Marty Wilde. As comical the gulf between he and Elvis that surpassed every ocean is now (it's still shudderingly queasyical to recall the sight of him casting himself as some kind of anti-establishment hero stood side by sideburn with Elvis in rocks early days in a documentary several years ago), I'm sure these were taken as the neutered slop they are by any rocker worth their proverbial salt n' oats right back then (my Mam, for one, has always detested him. Vehemently. With added vexacious paroxysms of vitriol. Obviously I've put such possible pre-natal influence quietly aside here). These late fifties early recordings, alas, for all the surly impressionisms, are still quaintly polite English renditions of the wild-cat rockin from Elvis n' Eddie and the ilkley like that can't be bartered with as emasculated saccharine suffocates any ferocity from Twenty Flight Rock, Mean Woman Blues and a caustic-less cabaret of Blue Suede Shoes along with unsurprisingly unspectacularly stale lunges at Jerry Lee staples High School Confidential and Great Balls Of Fire. Likewise I'm Walkin' and I Gotta Know are reduced to just pleasant picnic cream-cake eating at Butlins, the sheer joy is largely missing, or any real hurt or hardship that'd make Billy Fury so beloved. It's so hard to separate the career-horse he was about to become and thence remained from any to assess the practised pouting on paltry pickings like with honourable objectivity, but Disc Two demonstrates some swivelsome hip n' lip curling n' curving you and your Auntie and Uncle Naysayer may get all Spock-eyed about on versions of My Babe (a personal rave, cats, so I'm really being, um, charitable here, Christian, even), I Got A Feeling, Ready Teddy, Too Much (unless it was the cocoa and marmite) and perhaps, appropriately, Don't Bug Me Baby, which shows some real attitude at last. Though The Stones reappraising Chuck n' co it ain't, though perhaps it riled Keith enough to spur the polar opposite in the namesake stakes onwards. Everyone with an ear bent on rockin will appreciate the sterling early reverb-laden lollops of chirpy riffolata cha-cha from Hank B Marvin, especially the western-themed instrumentals Driftin' and Jet Black. However, as with all UK rockin' it's remains a curio and largely irrelevant apart from Move It, lacking fire, sparkle and vim overall. Thus still one for the racier Chris De Burgh acolyte.
Stu Gibson
The Tenebrous Liar - Jackknifed & Slaughtered
TV Records

Whatever yours Stuly's musings on Joy Divisions veritably unverifiable merits they really did scruffle out of punk's dying embers. It's no inestimable stretch to state these Midlands nightmare breeding mood massacrists, masochists and slouched-laden sadists do similar in being about the only band of these easy over-Order referencing times to take the doleful lumber-lunges and bleed new life into the bronchioles even as they die nonchalantly on razorwire in no mans land, their atonal decapitatory incants recalling Aussie tragedians The Drones and Sidewalk Regrets in the process, with touches of Boces era Mercury Rev, Paul Westerberg and even that rare early glimpse of Hole's caustic skin-stripping promise on Drown Soda. Similarly setting the literate against the grenade-rigged gateposts of existential lo-fi and harsh-insight this starts fairly effusively, ragged-right? yet raging, seeething, on the sardonic scabrosity. Jagged rib-scrapes of drastically dislocated country-cloaked sludge follow like an unremitting lava-flow until the whole creaking shack suddenly splits asunder and shatters gloriously under the straining shackles of the era-eradicating, titanic title-track as the bag of broiling blues that ebbs and spurts in sweltering cascades from some fissure, spluttering spastic cockroach crawl where volcanic feedback scratches scathing shards that erupt like colossal forest fires in fields of Fenders. Magnificently portentous and tumultuously potent with scant evidence of And The Band Used The Bad Seeds As A Bible - though perhaps where anything spaghetti western began being labelled Tarantino-esque and Cave and Bad Seed Warren Ellis score movies like The Assassination Of Jesse James and The Road, this wouldn't be out of place soundtracking Cormac's crestfallen, bleak, blasted worldviews. As defiantly dislocated as dour, die-hard deviance should be.
Stu Gibson
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