Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Breakfast With…
Jape Squad.
Spooky Records.

The Jape Squad are a seven-member musical gang who’ve just released their second album, Breakfast with Jape Squad. It’s their first release for Spooky Records and judging by their slippery proclivity for subtle experimentation, plus the danceable furrows that expel from the speakers, plus the melodic hooks that contain the Jape Squad’s knobbly free verse; this is a band that deserves to be the righteous flag-bearers for canny fraudsters, pill-poppers and booze-hounds everywhere.
Heather’s Head signifies the beginning of this loping chaos. Starting off with a guitar and organ that takes it’s magic from transmogrifying Steve Marriot’s more idyllic moments, it lurches and then rushes into some unsteadily-delivered stanzas, which makes one believe that the Jape Squad are just enthusiastic exponents of bitter gibberish.
Two Halves is the real smoky here, it’s a sleeper that doesn’t reveal itself from the load of distortion placed upon it, but after a secondary listen the catchiness of the song structure becomes apparent. It’s a tune that is the rambunctious equivalent to Mark E. Smith’s more inebriated artistic expressions.
Lookin’ For A Reason and It Don’t Matter sound like some punked-up blues band from Chicago, or even better, something that should’ve been released by The Saints on Prehistoric Sounds. Bug Spawn is one of the album’s many apexes. With its Blonde On Blonde style of quickly fading up into the tune, to the slurred lyrics tumbling, to the rolling organ rattling this demented sing-along to its unanticipated quick fade-out, Bug Spawn is a truly momentous high point. See The Sunshine finds the Jape Squad dressed in a blundering, yet bubblegum mishmash of The Turtles, or perhaps Boyce & Hart’s better finery.
The concluding track, Clouds Move Underground, is part somnambulism, while the other part is some type of lysergic-shimmering, all held together by a sneer, then a smirk, and ultimately a defiant smile. It’s the type of defiant smile a band usually has when they know they’re good enough, or when they’re closing such a definitive statement that this album is.
Breakfast With Jape Squad is a unique, swaggering masterwork of music that’s full of learned crooks and drunkard funkiness.

Shane Jesse Christmass

Friday, January 09, 2004


Cry Like A Baby: The Box Tops. Curly haired girl in a mini-skirt holding a teddy bear, sucking on her finger. OK I can handle that! Guitarist Gary Talley was ill for a month, and The Box Tops got a stand-in. The stand-ins face is on the cover, but it’s obscured by rain. Poignant story of bad timing for an illness, but also quite hilarious, the shot of the unknown disguised by photo-shoot precipitation. Perfectly simple. Memphis Soul! Aftermath: The Rolling Stones. Five musicians who have everything, looking suitably bored. And the winner is Bill Wyman, only because he does look well-tired, and from everything I’ve read, was actually the one band member who was bored witless all the time. Don’t blame him actually, sure Jagger is one hell of a singer, and ballet dancer, but imagine trying to have a conversation with him. Besides that, it looks like someone has smeared Vaseline over the camera lens. Blood On Jupiter: Clone Defects. Glue, Black and White Photos, Liquid Paper, possibly blood and cum ... I like what the scissors have done to Timmy Vulgar as well. One of those effortless efforts that sports commentators like to talk about. Fuckin’ great album as well. Pet Sounds: The Beach Boys. Ordinarily enough, Five fat twenty year olds, who look suspiciously middle aged, wearing brown, tweed and corduroy, feeding freaking Llamas, in a zoo wouldn’t inspire me to go any further ... It’s either still ahead of its time, or a complete dud. The Beach Boys made lesser albums, but had better album covers, namely Wild Honey. In the end, probably and inspired photograph. Actually are they goats? The Mullens: The Mullens. Is this what the French mean by a found photograph? Whatever! Two greasers kicking the shit outta each other, one wearing what looks horribly like a cow hide pattern jacket. Presumably in Hawaii, OK so I made that up, but I’d like to think it was in Hawaii. Pussy Galore: Right Now! Actually Dial M for Mother Fucker is a better cover, but this is a better album ... besides stars and stripes, Neil Michael Hagerty, guitars, Jon Spencer ... will always instantly beg to be picked up in the record stores. It looks like a Syd Barret / Pink Floyd fuck-up as well. Eminence for all Pussy Galore album covers, if you wanna make a deal out of it.