Saturday, August 17, 2013

tu-plang (1996)

The first album by Australian band Regurgitator came in the mail the last time anyone was bothering to send me free albums in the mail, so that should give some idea how long that's been. I flipped for it in a big way—it was a curiosity and the band was a mystery (intriguing cover art, eccentric information in small font only in the booklet, this music) that went into high rotation for a couple of months. Hard to figure out who they were, or what this was. I still don't know much about Regurgitator, but I see on Wikipedia they've had a whole career and are reasonably popular even. In fact, this album itself went to #3 Down Under and even yielded a top 40 hit in "Kong Foo Sing," which may indeed be the best song here. In fairness, nothing seems to have dented any other English-speaking or European or any other charts anywhere, beyond New Zealand. Insert usual that's a shame, because there are plenty of reasons to like this, starting with the determined career suicide gesture of opening your debut album with a song called "I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I Am." That pushed me toward a disposition in its favor, and they delivered with these feverish mash-ups of hip-hop, drum-and-bass attack, screwy PiL vocals, heavy bottoms, surf-rock flourishes, and gratuitous obscenity as it pleases them. It's Stranglers-style mood pieces for people in bad moods, all lined up in neat rows. It's surprisingly listenable, and surprising in any number of ways, with constant, vicious hooks, a wealth of ways to use the studio and unusual instruments, and whatever, to insinuate itself continually. It's capable of a good deal of very pure heaviosity and even willful menace, which probably would have scared me when I was about 14, if I'd happened to wake up to it in the middle of the night and it was playing. But since I was already 40 by the time I actually heard it, I registered the vein and kept moving. It's a real pleasure, and I was happy to find it remains so. As heavy as it makes out, it's always cheeky, and the momentum rarely flags.

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