April 6, 2008

CPC Gangbangs – Mutilation Nation

Filed under: Hype,Music — RustyJames @ 4:41 pm

[Swami Records; 2007]

Ladies and gents get out your moustaches and join the Mutilation Nation.

Mention Canadian cultural exports and you’ll probably get a list of no-hopers like Michael Ondaatje, Leonard Cohen and Atom Egoyan. One of Canada’s greatest under-acknowledged cultural exports is the movie Fubar, directed by Michael Dowse. Fubar examines, in fake-documentary style, the mysteries and vagaries of “headbanger” culture, following the exploits of two banger lifers Terry (Dave Lawrence) and Dean (Paul Spence), as they talk about life, get bombed, go camping, battle cancer and just generally giv’er.

Fubar was filmed in and around Calgary, Alberta, stronghold of banger culture and the place where I grew up. In the late ‘90s and into the ‘00s, a local rock dive called the Night Gallery would host a two night bash every May long weekend called “Moustache Rock”, featuring local bands performing the heavy hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s with proceeds going to charity. If there’s one current band infused with the spirit of Moustache Rock, it’s CPC Gangbangs, a band which features… Paul Spence.

You see how I tied all that together?

CPC Gangbangs are a throttling Montreal four piece anchored by the dual guitar attack of Spence and lead singer Roy “Choyce” Vucino. “Dual guitars”, you say? Why that sounds like metal. Straight up it does, and CPC Gangbangs owe much to the sweaty dudes of the ‘70s in bands like UFO and Judas Priest. If riffology is a course at rock school, the CPCs are on the Dean’s List. Make no mistake though, this isn’t your coked-out stepdad’s metal, CPC Gangbangs are a PUNK band you knobs, with enough shuck-and-stage-dive attitude to outlast any of the piss-poor “talent” that gets ashamedly labeled rock & roll these days.

Mutilation Nation, the band’s debut full length after a slough of singles, lays it on the line. Opener “Jeff Starship” proves this band has the balls to ease into their all-out assault, laying down a comfortable groove that merely suggests the night terrors ahead. Immediately following is “Teenage Crimwave”, asserting that they mean business, going straight to the heart of the rebellion-crazed teenage audience. Never let it be said that these dudes aren’t firmly fixed on the punk rock kill zone.

The band also explores a certain Cronenberg-ian body horror throughout the album, culminating in one of the album’s most blistering tracks, “Mechanical Man”, an apocalyptic horror-fest of mutually-assured destruction. These songs are played with such ferocity as to make the inside of your eyeballs sweat.

One taste of Mutilation Nation is like the sweet tang of blood on your lips. The CPCs play killer, wild-eyed rock & roll, living after midnight and breaking the law. This is a band well on their way to unstoppable, outlining their simple statement-of purpose on “I Want it All,” a merciless attack from a band intent on destroying every weak-willed wanker from here to Japan. “What Love Is” evokes the MC5, while “Suicide Ride” sounds like the Lazy Cowgirls at their peak. This is monstrous, uncompromising hell-raising rock & roll, spitting teeth, menace and bourbon. Woe be to the unbelievers.

April 4, 2008

The Fall – The Wonderful And Frightening World of The Fall

Filed under: Hype,Music — tha rhythm tha rebel @ 8:05 pm

[Beggars Banquet; 1984]

The Wonderful And Frightening World of The Fall is a somewhat hidden gem. Sandwiched between Perverted By Language and This Nation’s Saving Grace, two of The Fall’s most popular 80s releases, you could almost be forgiven for not hearing it given the albums it follows and precedes. It was to be the first of many releases with Beggars Banquet, a substantially larger label than they had been with before. This, along with the relatively new addition to the group of American post-punk popster Brix Smith, had an affect on the music. Songs became shorter, production became clearer and one or two tracks (notably C.R.E.E.P.) actually make great pop songs. Released in 1984 with different tracklistings on LP and cassette and re-issued in 1988 on CD with all the tracks from both the previous releases, Wonderful And Frightening isn’t exactly your average Fall album, but then again, what is?

As is common with Fall albums, the opener is a real stunner. “Lay of The Land” begins with dirty distorted guitar and Mark E. Smith mumbling something in a deep voice and then BLAM the rockabilly kicks in and everything is just screaming along with a bass riff like no other. In fact, one of the best things about this album is the bass. Whether it’s plodding along in “Bug Day” or completely driving the song in “Slang King” it’s always prominent. Another Fall trademark is the reference to artists that have influenced and inspired MES. Like “Sing! Harpy” from Extricate, “Elves” is another straight rip off of a Stooges song and makes a welcome addition to the heaving catalogue of Fall covers and quotations.

One of Wonderful and Frightening’s strongest points is it’s variety. Everything from lazy, twinkly tunes (“Disney’s Dream Debased”) to hex-esque rockers (“2 x 4”) is present. But one thing is constant, Brix’s influence can be heard throughout. It’s often understated how much affect Brix had over The Fall’s sound in the mid-80s but without her backing vocals (she could actually sing unlike anyone else previously in The Fall) and pop sensibilites The Fall may have just produced lack lustre attempts at duplicating their earlier classics. Having said that, the usual MES magic is evidently present. Catchy vocal hooks and typically absurd lyrics that seem to really make sense, rather than just mess your head up and appear weird for weird’s sake like so many others. Although not quite as dark and bludgeoning as his more famous works the quality is still there and really hits through in the epic closer “No Bulbs”.

Whilst Wonderful And Frightening might not quite shine as brightly as Grotesque or Hex Enduction Hour it certainly fits right in with the long line of fantastic Fall albums in the 80s and even makes for a great album on its own. There aren’t many greater examples of post-punk purity than The Fall’s work and this album fits that description like a velvet glove.

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