LES BATON ROUGE
MY BODY, THE PISTOL (Elevator Music)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
What Goth hasn’t got, which exists elsewhere, is neuroses given form in urgent, unctuous outpourings of musical fury. Nobody really lets rip. They expound, they exert themselves, frequently in an exciting splurges, but it’s not that raison d’etre. With Punk and Post-Punk, on the other hand, you get the roaring.
So here’s a Portuguese band, based in Berlin, who tour a lot and sound authentically pissed off and snappy. They start off reminding me of the Mo-Dettes with their naïve and enchantingly plain vocals which rub nicely up against some thin, needling guitar. This leads to mewling rage and when it gets stern you can almost imagine Nina Hagen berating Crass at a shoddy rehearsal.
After that you get the variety, from the chanty chorus amid rolling madness of ‘Traffic Trail’, the cartoon Punk (think Rezillos) in ‘Somersault’ and then while they could be a dour passions in the deeper, slower ‘Burning Desire’ you realise they can actually be rather dull. ‘Venus Girdle’ sees the shrill ranting vocals quite twisted with creepier music, featuring a concertinaed rhythm and busy guitar, just as ‘Easy Pleasure’ is a complete mess with bumpy drums and overwrought singing. Quite ghastly. ‘Behind That Body’ has touchy guitar which loses it on a crappy solo later, and ‘Maria Lamas’ shows they’re barely convincing when pretty. ‘Women In Control’ is a shambles and that’s because most of these bands, especially those influenced by Riot Grrrl haven’t got a clue about how to create memorable melodies. ‘Scarlet Whore’ shows them still toying with known Punk stereotypes, coming on all Hagar The Womb, being disciplined but shabby anarcho funsters, and then they dribble out with ‘Speaks Through My Body’.
Compared to the greats they’re nowhere in sight, but for people who don’t know much about this, and stumble across it must sound so brilliant and full of life.