THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS
ALIEN ROAD (Strobelight)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
The Last Days Of Jesus have a nutter at the helm, there is no doubt about that, but you have to persevere for only a very short time before you start to revel in their madness, because it is quaint and kitsch, where everything bulges with distended charisma and the songs aren’t bad either, being a hotchpotch of everything from rockabilly through punk to Goth and maybe most obviously, updated Jacques Brel turned on his head and kicked about relentlessly. It is like Horror Film cheek, turned chic.
‘Welcome To Earth (intro)’ is groaning drivel over which skittery punkabilly is slopped, and when the early Blondie-style organ is joining in the chorus becomes chirpy and memorable. It’s got a punk drag to it, and little off-kilter bursts of energy to make a good early impression. ‘Everyday Is Halloween’ is rockabilly drums going mad, and this could be those Cartoons people (remember ‘Witch Doctor’ with its “Ooh, eeh, ooh, ah, ah, ting, tang, walla, walla, bing, bang”?) having a punk sneer. Guns ‘n’ Drums ‘n’ March ‘n’ Fun’ is slower and enticing with big bass and creepy vocal capers. ‘Fear, Gunshot…Then The Bliss’ is android teasing with sleazy guitar and pecking synth. ‘Looter Do-Gooder’ sees the organ wrap its arm around a drum-stoked caper and carts it around in a drooling waltz, ‘Merry-Go-Round’ is the sound of a scary creature, like the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
‘Death Song’ gets the organ to flesh it out and bring us the big, slobbering attack where the guitar chops up and down to put a leering step to the rhythm, and the vocals hold back to let the music bubble effectively. It is never a question of this being some perky exercise to allow a character to dominate, this is a strange and combative unit. The thin guitar and spooky synth wash of ‘Connected Or Infected’, with some scooped out drums, makes the impact even better. ‘Paranoid Humanoid’ is absurdly jolly, and manages to maintain some attacking quality because the guitar holds everyone in place, then produces a more orthodox backing in ‘Communication’ for clattering percussion and sedate singing as they lurch around, then finally crack like idiots.
This is a curious hybrid of most modern forms with attitude and these weirdly winsome personality touches. Peculiar yes, and silly beyond reason, yet tastefully and imaginatively done.
WELCOME TO EARTH