Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Dirtbombs Cover INXS; Pitchfork vs. Pennypacker

From the Magic Stick a couple weeks ago:

We Have You Surrounded reviewed by Pitchfork,
the first Dirtbombs LP to be scored under an 8 (but by Pitchfork standards, it is still full of praise).

The first Dirtbombs LP to be narratively thematic as opposed to being musically thematic, WYS produces in studio the closest yet to what a Dirtbombs live show feels like (which presumably is accounted for by the production). Genre descriptions beyond "rock 'n roll" are unnecessary here. And this isn't to say there isn't variation in the narrative: amidst the overall topic of the decline and fall of Western Civilization, Mick Collins frustrates over the inability to successfully make it right with another, gets bitter while a self-inflated chick twiddles her thumbs as Rome burns, gets downright angry with the world in general on a few tracks, and eventually just resigns himself to the end - which always sounds a little softer and not so bad when sung in French.
The Dirtbombs' choice of covers are always more obscure than Pennypacker's limited knowledge of music so there won't be much addressed about that here.
The one possible hiccup in the entire proceedings is the 8-minute noise track, "Race to the Bottom". Generally speaking, Pennypacker's ears do not respond well to structureless, shapeless cacophony. BUT - considering the theme of the album, a little dissonance now and then is a good thing. It assuredly speaks volumes of the mess we're all in. It's a Pollock on a record full of Dali. Maybe?

Back to the Pitchfork review - Mr. Crock takes a swipe at the most ready-made single on the record, "Wreck My Flow", by comparing it to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire". It should be noted that back at CMJ in October, Pennypacker made this comparison to Mr. Collins himself, who was not flattered. He also said that drummer Pat Pantano made the same comparison but Mr. Pantano responded that he was referring to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues". For the record, Pennypacker is a fan of Billy Joel and of that song, and did not mean it as a swipe, which Mr. Collins understood. But this second comparison now, by Mr. Crock, assuredly does not bode well for future referencing. And really, "Wreck My Flow" only sounds like "We Didn't Start The Fire" in one line, the "future shock...cocked and locked" line. It sounds like the "Watergate...punk rock" line in the Joel song. That's it. Let's all move on now shall we?

In the degrees of Dirtbombs fandom, in regards to LP's, the original fans still love the garagepunk fury of Horndog Fest. The widest audience came with Ultraglide in Black (which is of course, at least sometimes, Mick's biggest regret) and only a handful of us (including Pennypacker) love Dangerous Magical Noise most of all. Maybe because the vast majority of WYS has the same concrete, textured, power chord fun of DMN, it has become Pennypacker's second favorite album (worth noting that the measures of distance in the rankings are slim to practically none except, admittedly, a significant chunk of Horndog Fest remains far below on the list). This record has more straight forward rock than the pop deviations of DMN, but even if the bubblegum record is still on its way, we may have to consider ceasing to frame the Dirtbombs' LP in the musically thematic mode of thinking and just accept it for what it is: a liturgy of consistent, quality rock 'n roll.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home