Monday, July 12, 2010

Sexplosion! (1991)

Two minutes into this thing, which runs about an hour, and you know you're in for a rollercoaster ride of down and dirty camp high jinks. The quavering fearful girl who's not hurting anything, the rubbery disco bass, the chanting chicks, the big bawdy faux horn sections, and the soaring, swooping keyboards all march right out like clowns in a parade. Then more spoken word samples: "Did somebody tie you up the other day?" "Yeah." "Why did they tie you up?" "'Cos I said I was leaving ... I was forced to stay someplace like a slave." Voice 1 = a modulated middle-aged newscaster right out of '50s clip art sucking on a pipe. Voice 2 = the quavering girl, barely speaking above a whisper. Voice 2, or something like it, will also appear later to coolly defend the use of LSD. Groovie Mann and Buzz McCoy, the principals of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult—or TKK as its aficionados commonly refer to it, evidently in need of some relief from the thick-witted syllables and willful misspelling—clearly have no qualms about paying extended inspection visits to the elements at the deepest and darkest heart of suburban panic, playing them for a good joke: French decadence, street sex, lost lives, martinis, sadomasochism, drugs, the ongoing refusal to accept Jesus as one's personal savior. It's all here and as drolly explicit as they can make it. It's arguable that all of TKK, and certainly of this album, their third full-length plus an EP, finds its sources in approximately 25 seconds of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs" (the fourth verse), which they have been about infinitely expanding since their origins in the late '80s. I would be inclined to dismiss it as the foolishness that it mostly is, except I happened to see the act on its tour in support of this, on a baking hot night, playing well past the hour that the law determined they should have finished by, and with various alarming stunts that included full-frontal nudity, oversized toy syringes, and various escapades with an anatomically correct, if grossly exaggerated, Jesus on the cross. The house was packed. I expected the police any moment. Somehow it was entirely thrilling. I've never seen anything quite like it. Echoes of that night remain trapped within these grooves.

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