08 December, 2012

Recent Love (Broken Hearts and Stereos Edition)

Control, Longino, K
Well, for starters, I turned off Miles Davis's Bitches Brew in the middle of "Pharaoh's Dance" to start this record and I'll tell you this much, it was like I flipped over to "Pharaoh's Dance II" or something.
This is the third installment in Control's trilogy of EPs wherein they collaborate with a (I think) local visual artist and, hey, I'm a dick: I slept on this one; when it showed up in my inbox, Thanksgiving was right around the corner. Then I was all goddamned head over heels for this one bird who didn't reciprocate the sentiment. Then my stereo died. But now everything is AOK: The holiday is over (thank fuck), the aforementioned bird has left for NYC (thank fuck), and I have a brand new stereo (thank fuck). It is on said brand new stereo that I'm listening to Longino, K and it sounds a bajillion times better than it would have on that old POS I was using for the last six years. By the powers of transitive properties or whatever the hell the phrase is, that means that this review should be a hell of a lot better than my last Control review. I wouldn't put money on that prediction though, certainly not if anybody read my predictions for the Boardwalk Empire season finale at the discussion forum I frequent.
ANYHOO, the record opens with "Popular Music from the Birthplace of Humanity" which itself opens with a drum intro that will be on your sampling to-do list immediately after hearing it and then a brief rest and then we move on into the Miles Davis territory. It then moves into the darker, more bed-time moves of "Same Clothes Same Time" which begins a little on the funky side for a few bars and then says "fuck it" and gets down right sleazy, occupying the space between Joy Division's romanticism and Led Zeppelin's raunch. For real, it's a little late to call it for 2012, so "Same Clothes Same Time" is going to have to be the opener on your 2013 Get-Down Jams mix CD or playlist or whatever people do these days. I mean, me? I was going to burn this bird a copy of Marquee Moon before she left for NYC. I figured that's what you do when you're an idiot and hold out hope for something that has already expressly been categorized under "not going to happen". But you know what? That's OK. Daddy Charlie don't need women no more, Daddy Charlie has a new 270W shit-hell-piss-off stereo and a six-pack of Heineken and a freezer full of biała kielbasas and he's just sittin' right the fuck pretty right now, aint he? That's how Daddy Charlie is livin'.
Wait.
I'm supposed to be reviewing a record right now.
So, yeah, "Same Clothes Same Time". That's your assigned listening, mon petit illiterati.
"RE - I'm Freaking" takes an excursion into old school dub reggae for about a minute, which is a little scary because it kind of starts like regular reggae which I am not into. I like dub reggae, the old cuts by Lee Scratch Perry and Scientist. I know it's probably sacrilege to say this next bit, but I prefer Scientist over Perry and I've never heard King Tubby. So, full disclosure, there's a good chance that I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about with dub reggae. If you dig the old, over the top, dripping wet analog delay sounds of those old records, "RE - I'm Freaking" is your jam. If all you're into is some Sublime bullshit and you stopped your exploration of reggae at the Bob Marley best-of that you downloaded from the iTunes store, "RE - I'm Freaking" is going to be either a wake up call or a turn off for you. The last minute of the song reminds me a bit of Javelins in a way. Overall, though, it is killer amalgamation of reggae and indie rock, a successful combination of the elements of each genre without being a hokey stylization or "genre tune".
Remember when Social Distortion covered "Ring of Fire"? (Or was that just Mike Ness?) "RE - I'm Freaking" isn't like that. Where Social D played a country tune with fuzzboxes, Control are taking the essential elements of the two styles they are propose to meld and make a happy little cohabitation between them. This is almost the winning track on the record. Almost. The first little "chik-chik" reggae guitar sounds don't do anything for me until the delay sounds come in.
"Horn", however? Hot rats, this is the winner. It's aggressive without being angry. Masculine without being macho. Bombast without pomp. Also? It's unfortunately the shortest song on the record, clocking in at just a little over 2m39s. Half the instrumental bands out there would probably give a nut to have a gem like this in their catalog and Control are all like, "Pfft, watch how little we give a damn," and kill it after two and a half minutes. That's a pisser, I guess, but it's one of those things: Sure, everybody complains that Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" (three minutes) doesn't last nearly long enough. Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" (two minutes, fifty seconds) doesn't last nearly as long as it should. Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" (two and a half minutes) needs to be longer. Ramones's "Judy is a Punk" (one and a half minutes)? Not long enough. But songs like those? What the hell would happen if they were longer? You need short songs. You need those little blissful moments. Fang's "The Money Will Roll Right In" (two and a half minutes), Fear's "Camarillo" (one minute), the list not only goes on, it now includes Control's "Horn" as one of those songs that needs to last longer but if it did wouldn't make it any better.
Is there anything this record lacks? Well, it's kind of a thinking person's record. There are visceral moments, sure. It has its jazz freak outs (of the best kind, mind you), it has its sleazy fuck moments, it has it's recontextualizations of genres... But the last song is the closest thing to a real fist-pumper. You're not going to slam dance to this record but you're not going to talk over it, either. I think maybe the best application for this record is with friends, after the bars are all closed and the conversation has run out but the fun is still in the air and somebody has a joint of some good shit for a change. It's three in the morning, you're all half-blitzed, there are a few cold ones left in the fridge, and you've got a jay and a copy of Longino, K. Put it on, put it on repeat. By the third listen, you'll probably start talking about space.
That is not a bad thing.

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