POP CULTURE SCHLOCK at RPM: Exhibit A – Alice Cooper’s 1st comic-book appearance
Step inside; walk this way; you and me, babe; hey, hey! Welcome, RPM-People, to the first irregular column dedicated to music-related items from the Pop Culture Schlock archive. Some will be cool, some will be curious, but all will be from a simpler time when music wasn’t just binary code on a smartphone stolen by some scally on a moped. So, pour yourself a Skol, slip into your Starsky cardigan, and wrap yourself in the warm embrace of nostalgia via a New York sanitarium by way of a Seventies newsagent.
Marvel Comics, before becoming responsible for almost every three hours you spend in the cinema, saw the late 1970s ripe for its own slice of the mass market appeal afforded to the rock stars of the day. Rather than living fast and dying young, your common or garden rock ‘n’ roll visage was more likely to be on the cover of a teen magazine or the panel of a game show than the front of a memorial service brochure.
After giving KISS its first appearances in issues 12 and 13 of its monthly Howard The Duck comic-book, Marvel rocked out no fewer than three times within the first five issues of its then-new title, Marvel Super Special, a 41-issue series of one-shots published between 1977 and 1986. KISS featured in the first (famously/supposedly donating blood to be used in the red ink) and fifth issues, The Beatles Story making up number 4. Now, any UK rock ‘n’ roll archivist with a shred of honesty who was in single figures age-wise when that first Holy Grail of a KISS comic came out will admit that it took until they were well versed in the art of mail order before they could add that piece of exquisite ephemera to their collection. Not so issue 50 of Marvel Premiere which hit spinner racks in the UK prior to its October 1979 cover-date…
Marvel Premiere was essentially a “try-out” comic; publishing a one-shot tale of a character to determine whether or not he/she/it could attract enough attention and/or revenue to launch their own regular title. After throwing around the idea of an Alice Cooper comic for a few years, Marvel finally took the plunge in 1979 with the special 50th issue of Marvel Premiere. That the legendary comic company did so with a storyline based around the Coop’s album from the previous year, ‘From The Inside’ (a concept record based on the then-troubled shock rocker’s time in a NY sanitarium where he was treated for alcoholism, with songs based around patients he met inside), remains bizarre to this day.
To be fair, the album – housed in luxurious fold-out sleeve and playing as I type – was pretty upbeat, musically if not lyrically, no doubt courtesy of Cooper’s collaboration with Bernie Taupin. It was with that in mind, I guess, that Marvel deemed the content suitable for adaptation in comic-book form. Of course, as an eight-year-old kid I read it all in a blur, oblivious to its roots, simply joyous that I could actually find a comic that featured one of the coolest rockers to grace my turntable in a British newsagents. Reading through it now, four decades later, that sense of wonder remains, even though I now understand the serious ramifications of the original subject matter. That Marvel decided to go for a lighter-hearted tone (albeit with a wicked bite) more in keeping with the commercially-accepted theatrics of the album now means that critical re-evaluation doesn’t come with the wince that oft-accompanies the remembering of once-troubled celebrities.
With artwork by Tom Sutton and Terry Austin, who also provided the stunning cover art, and a script by Ed Hannigan (based on a plot by Alice, Jim Salicrup, and Roger Stern) the comic version of ‘From The Inside’ opens with Alice trying to escape from his sanitarium cell via the time-honoured tying together of bedsheets. Caught by Nurse Rozetta (yes, she of the album track – also joined in ink form by Jackknife Johnny and Millie and Billie from the record) Alice is thrown into The Quiet Room by Dr. Fingeroth. Here, the Coop recalls the unfortunate series of events that saw him stuck there on the inside looking out.
Y’see, Alice, his mind undergoing a meltdown whilst trying to survive the “high-powered lunacy of the showbiz world,” had checked into a clinic in an attempt to dry up and calm his nerves. As (bad) luck would have it, Alice was confused with an Alex Cooper – a “certified paranoid schizo with a radical tyre fetish!” – and locked away by mistake. As our hero is treated to electro-shock therapy, ice water baths, and a crude haircut, Alex Cooper is about to be elected governor!
With Veronica (his trusty snake here, yet a dog on the album track, ‘For Veronica’s Sake’) stripped from him and locked away herself, Alice has to negotiate bed straps, sedatives, muscle-bound orderlies, and a doctor seemingly more crazed than the inmates of his facility, in order to get his story believed. Spoiler alert: doesn’t happen!
With a legion of background cameos and in-jokes for lynx-eyed readers (featuring the likes of Popeye, the Incredible Hulk, and Donald Sutherland’s character from 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake), the comic is wildly entertaining, possibly more so than the album it is based on (‘From The Inside’ attracting much cooler critical acclaim than many of its long-playing predecessors), though that claim could well be down to my original childhood love for what was then the pinnacle of my fledgling comic buying.
“But what of the future?” asked the powers that be at Marvel Comics in 1979. “Should Alice be awarded his own regular Marvel title? Should we break him out of that Asylum and send him blasting through the Marvel Universe?” Well, it would be 1994 before Marvel featured Cooper again via a three-part, Neil Gaiman-penned comic series that tied-in with Alice’s 1994 album, ‘The Last Temptation’.
Dark Horse Comics would later reprint ‘The Last Temptation’ as a trade paperback, but Cooper’s comic book history doesn’t end there. 1990 saw Revolutionary Comics’ dubious Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics title (more on these chancers in a future article) feature an unofficial Alice Cooper history, with Bluewater Comics later picking up that company’s past monstrosities and lowbrow ethics. Much better was to follow in 2014 with an ongoing Alice Cooper comic book title from Dynamite Entertainment which lasted for six issues and was followed by ‘Alice Cooper vs. Chaos!’, another six-parter that saw the veteran shock rocker up against the denizens of Dynamite’s horror universe; including Evil Ernie, Chastity, and Purgatori. Oh yeah, also look out for the Coop in a Treehouse of Horror special Simpsons comic along with Rob Zombie, Gene Simmons… and Pat Boone.
It is Marvel Premiere issue 50 that will forever be the peak of comic-book Alice Cooper, however. With the guillotine of nostalgia cutting deep, that forty-year-old mass of paper, ink, and staples is a thing of beauty in a world turned ugly. As Millenials and Post-Millenials reminisce about their friggin’ iTunes playlists, us forever-cool-kids will always have stuff like Alice Cooper comics to read via torchlight under our covers at night, knotted bedsheets at the ready…
Author: Gaz Tidey
ON this day in history some fairly iconic records got released over the years some pretty significant. first up in 1978 The Rolling Stones released their marmite record ‘Some Girls’ now, some girls (and Boys) love it and some absolutely detest it thinking it was a step too far for the rock and rollers and they were pandering to the fashions of the day but if you take ‘Some girls’ out of the late ’70s there are many factors to this being the last truly great album by the band.
Starting the album off with the Disco backbeat of ‘Miss You’ As Jagger does his best Noo Yawker as the whole record has a lower east side vibe happening, sure it might have been where Disco came from with the whole Studio 54 but time has worn well on the face of ‘Some Girls’ from the iconic artwork to the ragged fretwork of Richard and Wood this was the first album that Wood was credited as a full-time member of the band although he’d played on the previous two it was ‘Some Girls’ that he was “in” so to speak.
‘Some Girls’ has sold a staggering 6 million albums to date and is the bands biggest selling album in the USA! it only managed 100,000 in their homeland of the United Kingdom. It managed to reach number one in North America And Canada whereas in the UK it only managed Number two (it was kept off the top spot by ‘Saturday Night Fever’) As for singles in ’78 Brotherhood Of Man and The Smurfs both had more number ones than the Stones -think about that for a minute? the USA managed to save the bands cred when ‘Miss You’ went to number one which was their only chart-topper anywhere. As for other singles off the album, the controversial ‘Respectable’ didn’t even manage to break the UK top 20. Speaking of ‘Respectable’ Jagger had this to say,
“It’s important to be somewhat influenced by what’s going on around you and on the Some Girls album, I think we definitely became more aggressive because of the punk thing…” Besides ‘Respectable’ was and still is a killer tune regardless of where it charted. If you have a spare ten minutes check out the band performing it live on Saturday Night Live along with ‘Beast Of Burden’ and ‘Shattered’ its golden Rolling Stones TV. Not just Keith looks strung out Jagger sounds like he hadn’t slept in a few days at least and Wood is oblivious when Jagger licks his lips during the solo. ‘Shattered’ is classic Rock and Roll with an edge they were on form no matter what the critics said.
to be fair to the band ‘Some Girls’ pretty much had it all from the country honk of ‘Far Away Eyes’ and the great pop of their take on The Temptations ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)’. Clearly punk had its impact from the sped up ‘Lies’ and the singles ‘Respectable’ and the new wave of ‘Shattered’ you also had the pure Rock and Roll of Keith’s vocal on ‘Before They Make Me Run’. I tell you what, go listen to the album from top to bottom and then tell me it isn’t a stone cold classic Stones record ‘Some Girls’ was in my humble opinion the last great Stones album. sure ‘Undercover’, ‘Dirty Work’ and ‘Tattoo You’ had their moments but they were few and far between whereas this one has it all as well as The Stones never being too far from one controversy or another ‘Some Girls’ go heat from all sides. Accused of Racism for the lyrics on the title track and uproar for the inclusion or likeness of celebrity faces on the die cut sleeve. Dinosaurs or cutting edge damned if they do for the Stones as they saw out the decade with most of their best work now behind them.
Buy Some Girls Here
Formed in New York in 1986 the three-piece known as Goo Goo Dolls released their debut self-titled album ‘Goo Goo Dolls’. If you were to be introduced to the band only knowing their recent output you would no doubt choke on the word’s ‘debut’ as its almost an unrecognizable band on the likes of ‘Torn Apart’ that kicked off that debut album back in 87 to anything they’ve released in the last decade at least. Guitarist/vocalist Johnny Rzeznik, Bassist/vocalist Robby Takac, and drummer George Tutuska got together in Buffalo. the debut album is a far cry musically from what they have become although they certainly changed over the years which was fine as plenty of bands evolve but from 87 to 2019 the transformation is nuts.
The band almost broke the radio with the huge success of ‘Iris’ and the ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’ album and nobody could begrudge the band that reward, but. The first and most noticeable difference back in the early days was the fact that every song on the debut album was sung by Robby and not Johnny Rzeznik. Secondly, the debut album cost less than $1,000 to record. Just imagine that for a second. I know it was 1987 but still; congrats on that guys.
Of the fourteen tracks, they managed to squeeze on a hilarious version of the Cream hit ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ the covers didn’t end there because side two featured another ‘Classic Rock’ cover in the shape of Blue Oyster Cults ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’. by the power of streaming or CD you can skip straight past these bad boys not so easy when it first came out on record. Imagine the band who penned ‘Iris’ also penned ‘Hard Sores’ now I can’t imagine all those high school girls screaming along on this one somehow can you?
As far as debut albums go I’ve got a lot of time for ‘Goo Goo Dolls’ and as the years have gone on I have more admiration for the early years and the recent albums have almost made me want to weep as they’re so far removed from what they once were and that’s a shame. the first five albums in their arsenal I stand by but once they hit commercial success with slushy songs they nose-dived into where they’re at now its no coincidence that the lead vocalist changed and the drummer left after the fifth album was recorded over a royalty dispute read into that what you will but that debut was excellent and still is to this day. I always had the band hand in hand with Soul Asylum another great band who started off well and dropped off with commercial success. This Goo Goo Dolls album was sandwiched between two of the better Soul Asylum albums ‘while you Were Out’ and ‘Hang Time’ a band I sure we’ll get to in good time.
Buy Goo Goo Dolls Here
Mainstays on the Northern live music scene, Leeds punk reprobates The Yalla Yallas are well known for their energetic and frantic live shows. Fronted by the enigmatic Rob Galloway, they take their name from a Joe Strummer song and have released three albums over the past decade.
For inspiration, singer/songwriter Rob took himself on a European trip, armed with just his notebook and a passport. ‘Outsider’, the band’s fourth album, is the fruits of his labour and sees the band venture outside of their punk roots to explore folk, blues and country.
‘Outsider’ is an eclectic collection of songs that draws on the bands collective influences and the singer’s worldly experiences. It mixes up rousing, punky blasts with folky traditional stomps and heartfelt balladry on a par with anything their contemporaries can muster.
You can tell The Yalla Yallas are a great live band and producer Grant Henderson has captured the live spirit of the band perfectly. None more so than on the upbeat and rousing ‘Borrowed Heart’. A song that brings to mind early U2 and The Waterboys, the urgent beats and bouncing bass line lay down a perfect rhythm for layered guitars and Rob’s raw vocals. The addition of a surprise sax gives added E Street band goodness. This is good stuff.
It seems that the band thrives on exhilarating, catchy sing-alongs. Whether it be punky stabs of Clash-like goodness such as the single ‘Problems’ and ‘Another Day In Hell’, rousing, folky drinking songs like ‘Blackpool (Feeling So Alive)’ or frantic blasts like ‘Murder, Baby!’, a song that comes on like a lost b side from The Urban Voodoo Machine.
The emotive ‘Somewhere Anywhere’ is one of those special, instantly gratifying songs that begs repeated plays. It builds to a chorus that includes the line “I wanna dance with you in the eye of a hurricane”, words sung with such passion and conviction. You believe his every word by the time he’s telling the girl “I wanna be the man you’ve dreamed of” as guitarist Will Grinder peels off licks of Slash-like proportions.
They take it down as well though. The banjo-infused ‘I Got Nothing’ is Johnny Thunders meets Mike Scott. Stripped bare, it’s heartfelt balladry of a man with nothing to lose. Elsewhere, a lone piano, haunting gospel vocals and Tom Waits vibes make ‘Walking In The Rain’ an essential slice of alternative music you need in your life.
They add another string to their bow with the spaghetti western-inspired ‘Devil’, a song that has Ennio Morricone vibes. Its pistols at dawn, with the stench of stale sweat and whiskey in your nostrils. The perfect Tarantino-esque soundtrack fodder.
The Yalla Yallas are relatively unknown outside of their native Leeds and ‘Outsider’ goes a long way to prove they should be much more than that. This collection of songs contains many sure-fire, future live favourites. These are alternative anthems to lose your shit to, as you sing-along with Rob, a beer in your hand and not a care in the world.
Author: Ben Hughes
If you have a love of NOFX and early Green Day and of course The Ramones but mix in a dash of ’50’s harmonies and you pretty much nailed The Radio Buzzkills. Opener ‘Tattletail’ pretty much nails their flag to the mast mixing that Ramones with the slurred punk rock vocal style of Fat Mike. It’s not bad to be fair whilst it’s not groundbreaking but I guess they could say they’re just goofin’ around playing punk rock post-noughties American style. I’m not a fan of all the “nananana” stuff it kind of makes a joke of what they’re trying to do.
That’s pretty much the tone for the rest of the album where the songs go through the gamut of the melodic Ramones meets pop punk. There are moments where it really works and I do like the female-heavy gang backing vocals they use on ‘Cannibal Girlfriend’.
‘She Hails Satan’ starts off really well with a great riff and I can just about live with the story lyrics. throwing a dicky Dale surf instrumental with ‘shark surfer’ loses me and gives me the chance to go put the kettle on so not all bad. Proceedings go a little NOFX by number over the next few songs until ‘She Died On The Deathstar’ has a tidy melody that’s more Dwarves and is a big upturn in quality and I like the arrangement. The best tune so far. and ‘Gone Gone Gone’ follows on that rich seam with a weird cover but in a good way I like it and who doesn’t like The Everleys anyway? It’s not as good as their mind but I like it.
Maybe I’m just not in the mood for some pop punk and goofin’ around at the moment and I should give this more plays another time, maybe.
Buy Get Lost Here
Author: Dom Daley
David Bowie took ‘Diamond Dogs’ out on tour around shit Island on this day back in 1974. The cover art features Bowie as a striking half-man, half-dog grotesque painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert. It was controversial as the full painting clearly showed the hybrid’s genitalia. A few copies of this original cover made their way into circulation at the time of release but hey anything goes in 2019 so if you want to see the originally intended artwork then here it is!
That was the ’70s and any excuse to show a bit of Bowie is good enough for us. Moving into the Naughties and on this day Velvet Revolver released a fine debut album ‘Contraband’ which spawned the hits ‘Fall To Pieces’ and ‘Slither’. the band made up of Slash, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan, along with Scott Weiland and Dave Kushner.
Formed in 2002 when Slash and Duff played a benefit concert for Randy Castillo, who died of cancer. Stone Temple Pilots had split up, so the Guns N Roses pair pulled in Scott Weiland as lead singer although it was rumoured that Marc from Peckham Cowboys was also auditioned the line up was completed by Sorum (also in GnR) and second guitarist Dave Kushner.
During the recording of the album, Weiland was ordered by the court to attend rehab and as part of the deal, he was able to record at several hours at a time in order to complete the album.
Whilst on the subject of high maintenance band members on this day in ’69 the Stones officially parted company with Brian Jones who said he was leaving the band to play his “kind of music” his departure was barely a month old before he was found dead in his pool.
Finally Happy Birthdays to Greg Ginn – Born today in 1954 in Arizona. Ginn also owns the independent record label, SST, originally begun as an electronics company called Solid State Tuners when he was only 12 years old. Don’t know if its a well-known fact but Ginn is the older brother of artist Raymond Ginn, who is better known using by the name Raymond Pettibon (He of the OFF! album covers and the iconic Black Flag four-bar logo)
Another iconic musician who pioneered the new romantic scene Happy Birthday Nick Rhodes (born today in 1962) who came to prominence out of the post-punk scene that morphed into new romantics playing keyboards or synths in Duran Duran.
Born Nicholas James Bates who helped start the band in the late ’70s in Birmingham whilst DJing at the Rum Runner club in the city center. It was there he met the other members of the band who were also employed at the club. Rhodes went on to international superstardom with Duran. He also had a successful career with Arcadia which he formed with LeBon and Roger Taylor whilst the other two went off to Rock out with Power Station and the duranies went on hietus.
Rhodes always the artier one went on to become an accomplished photographer as well as several successful side projects but he always came back to Duran Duran. Happy Birthdays Greg and Nick.
11th June – KB, Malmö now 07th December
13th June – Bannermans, Edinburgh now 08th December
14th June – The Tivoli, Buckley now 08th May 2020
15th June – Masonic Hall, Alva now 09th May 2020
20th June – The Face Bar, Reading now 05th December
21st June – The Flowerpot, Derby now 15th September
All existing tickets remain valid for the new shows, if you can’t make the new dates, refunds are available.
As anyone who knows the band will already know, they do not cancel or reschedule shows unless absolutely necessary.
All previously announced remaining shows are unaffected.
Thank you all for your understanding and continued support, it means a great deal. The band will make every effort to make it up to you on the rescheduled shows.
To keep up to date with the band’s movements and to see when these shows get penciled in – follow them on Facebook
Its no secret that we don’t always listen to Glam punk or Rock n Roll or straight up punk. Sometimes we love to indulge in a more challenging form of music. Besides, I find the whole scene of Black Metal absolutely fascinating so, on days like this, it’s only fair to tip the hat and show some respect for those who made the records and have since passed on. As a mark of respect, we’d like to spread a little love for Tomas Forsberg better known as Quorthorn, Multi-instrumentalist and frontrunner of the metal subgenre known as Black Metal. Frontman and songwriter of the blackest of black metal bands none other than – Bathory.
Bathory was, for the most part, a studio band releasing four albums and often cited as the fathers of Black Metal or at least Scandinavian Black Metal. (of course, Venom were the first we know that) Thomas Börje Forsberg was born on the 17th of February 1966 and sadly passed away at home on this very day in 2004 as a result of a congenital heart defect. In his short life, he managed to release 16 Bathory albums and three solo albums under the name Quorthon. He was known as ‘Ace’ early on after Ace Frehley from Kiss maybe he wasn’t so dark after all and only when he turned to the dark side did he change his name to something altogether eviler.
Managing to remain in the underground Bathroy were more in keeping with the origins of Black Metal and Venoms more NWOBHM than the breakneck blast beats and throat gargling abominations that followed from the bands that took the scene to the extremes. Bathory will always be known as one of the forefathers and groundbreakers. So RPM would like to say Rest In Peace Thomas and shine on you crazy diamond.
Also on this very day in 1993 the artist formerly known as Prince Rogers Nelson changed his name to Symbol! Now had he been a black metal artist he could have come up with some unreadable abomination for a symbol – lucky for us it was like a squiggle with a circle and an anchor like line. These pop stars eh? Nutters one and all
Also on this very day, The Sex Pistols reached a level of notoriety when they played a live show on a boat travelling up the Thames as part of the Queen’s silver jubilee celebrations.
Ok, so we’ve been sitting on this album for a while at RPM…literally! I found it, seemingly forgotten, stuffed between a pile of unopened bills, unread Labour pamphlets, punk rock flyers and various promo CDs on my coffee table (yes, it’s a rock ‘n’ roll mess, I’ll tidy it one day I’m sure!).
Damn, how did I miss this fucker? But better late than never, I’m on it like Graham Bonnet. The brand new album from that self-proclaimed “hooligan rock ‘n’ roll” band known as Control.
‘Democracy Is Dead’ is the 5th long player from a band who look as mean as they sound. This band has a fire in their bellies for sure, but singer Iain Kilgallon and his band are more than bovver booted boys in combats and Harrington jackets. They have proper quality tunes as well as a message, and they are passionate about it.
Bells chimes and rousing beats introduce the album as the title tracks spews from the speakers. It’s “Oi-Oi” at full pace, the buzzsaw guitar riffs and low slung licks of Reesy and Ryan prevail, as Iain spits a diatribe of class divide, paranoia and overall disdain.
It’s over in a flash, the first of several anthemic songs that are rich in both melody and meaning. Don’t get me wrong, Control are angry fuckers, they have good reason to be, as do we all. They deliver their diatribes with a clenched fist in the air and a boot towards any authoritarian who questions their motives.
With attitude and melody dished out in equal measures, the likes of ‘Violent World’ and ‘Anti Social Media’ are both clever and well written songs that have staying power and an uplifting vibe, yet still retain the raw, punk rock power we desire. The production is spot on too and brings out the best in this band. The guitar sound is fantastic and the quality riffs are dished out again and again.
There’s something distinctly British about their brand of punk ‘n’ roll music, in part due to the accented delivery of the vocals. Only a British band could deliver tongue in cheek lyricism so well. “Toughen up, or take a long walk…off a right short pier” the singer spits on ‘Snowflake Generation’, reminding me of the Anti-Nowhere League. Elsewhere on the title track “Daddy was a banker. A crooked sod” is delivered in full on Steve Jones style. And if you can keep up with Iain on that tongue twister chorus of ‘American Gangster’ then hats off to ya!
It’s no surprise to find that Rancid’s Lars Fredrikson is a fan; they even supported The Old Firm Casuals recently. When you have a song as good as ‘Just Don’t Understand’ in your repertoire, it’s easy to see why.
In these trying times, with our country rapidly turning to shit and a government hell-bent on flushing us all down the Brexit toilet, it may be the perfect time for a band who wanna stand up and shout from the terraces and tower blocks of the working class Brits to say, they are not ok with the overly monitored police state we live in, and they are not ok with the lying, power-hungry politicians who run it.
‘Democracy Is Dead’ is a fiery beast of an album, choc-a-bloc with choruses that will incite you to chant, lyrics that could incite a riot and a defiant 2 fingers raised in the general direction of our crumbling government. Control could well have delivered the perfect punk rock soundtrack to broken Britain in 2019.
Buy ‘Democracy Is Dead’ Here
Author: Ben Hughes
The Membranes release the heaviest album of the year so far. Not heavy in the way of an Iron Maiden (obviously) but heavy as in dense physical mass as it lurches from the shade into the light and back again like a beast that’s bee in the wilderness for decades and then suddenly it wanders into the metropolis as the opener will testify covering everything about this record in one track.
The title track is Robbs punchy throbbing bass line right front and center in the mix is a heaving throwback to the days when Joy Division was kicking up dust over the Northwest. These aren’t rounded soft and pleasant noises the band is throwing out there. ‘A Murder Of Crows’ is like the bastard child of Bow Wow Wow as the song jerks and leers towards the listener in an uncomfortable noise yet its compelling enough to keep you listening. Like some sort of musical cooperative if you want in just turn up and shake a tambourine or blow a horn I’m sure there’s someone hitting a kitchen sink in there somewhere along with throwing a piano down a flight of stairs.
There has to be a Bauhaus influence in there as ‘Black Is The Colour’ about the dark epicenter of winter bloody well sounds it. Not what you might call TOTP material for a single unless its the post-apocalypse TOTP with a chaotic reverb emanating of Robbs jagged bass line it’s uncomfortable yet listenable and they’ve got the levels spot on.
this double album is an ambitious project and it’s often dark yet alluring uninviting and cold yet warm at the same time one thing it is for sure and that’s epic. If you’re trying to take it in in one sitting then strap yourself in it might be a bumpy ride just listening to the Janes Addiction sounding chaos of ‘The 21 St Century Is Killing Me’ from its choir on the chorus to the juddering riff its a whole load of epic in one track. the final track ‘Pandoras Box’ is like a headfuck with Choirs, strings, thumping bass, Dead Kennedy’s riff, at times it sounds like a lost Stranglers track and others it sounds like a gift from above its exhausting listening but in a good way.
Another feature of this record is the guest list Kirk Brandon (Theatre of Hate, Spear of Destiny) and 84-year-old folk singer Shirley Collins. TV presenter Chris Packham also contributes to ‘Winter’, also Jordan turns up, yes she of the Kings Road and a woman who practically invented the punk Rock shock look in 1975. Half the tracks also feature the 20-piece Choir. So you can’t fault the band for trying to include the Jewson lot into this record besides it doesn’t always work but what the hell they’re trying and that’s a strength. when it works its a beautiful thing I can’t tell you where it works that’s for you to decide but I would suggest you at least give this a try you never know it might reel you in.
The band must have driven themselves half round the bend recording this but I bet once they had the record in their hands and dropped the needle in that first groove they’ll feel it was all most definitely worth it.
Buy What Nature Give Here
Author: Dom Daley
As of today, ‘What Nature Gives … Nature Takes Away’ will be available on vinyl and CD, and digitally from stores such as iTunes and streaming platforms. There is also a deluxe double vinyl ultra limited edition of 150 copies.
This summer, cosmetics company Lush will also release a Membranes perfume called ‘A Strange Perfume’ after the album’s opening track. I bet you weren’t expecting that were you?