Such Is Life (Late Great Records)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis
The Redresser is a side-project of Anthony Griffiths, who is otherwise known as the guitarist with Ikon. In this band he creates a sound to suit his hairstyle. Because what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a slice of no-shit glam rock, all cuban heels and attitude, and some good old thrashy guitar riffs. In other words, everything you need for an authentic rockin' party.
The sound on this album is very live - to the point where I suspect these songs were recorded by simply suspending a microphone over the band as they hammered through some songs in their rehearsal room. If you want polished production and studio gloss, look elsewhere. This is rock 'n' roll in the raw - but then, isn't that how rock 'n' roll is supposed to be?
Let's lend an ear to the songs. 'Survival' seems to be an environmental anthem - the first time I've ever encountered this subject matter addressed by a bunch of glam rockers, but it's good to know that there's more in these guys' heads than cars and girls. In fact, Anthony Griffiths (who writes all The Redresser's songs) seems to specialise in slightly oblique lyrics which hint at everything from political concerns to mystical thoughts. There's not a single 'yeah yeah baby' lyric on the entire album. 'Damage Control' might be an accusatory finger pointed at his least favourite politician; 'Human Reduction' could be a dissertation on the subject of overpopulation. I say 'might be' and 'could be' because there are no simple slogans here - the lyrics are left open to interpretation. Ironically, it's the band's cover of Echo And The Bunnymen's 'Do It Clean' which comes closest to the kind of lyrical romp which you'd expect from a band in this musical area.
But the music is always rockin'. A good old brew of two guitars, bass and drums, and a vocal style somewhere between Richard Butler and Stiv Bators. In fact, if you're a fan of the Psychedelic Furs (their abrasive stuff only, mind, not the slop they produced when they went all AOR) and vintage Lords Of The New Church, I reckon The Redresser will be right up your alley. 'The Lord Impaler' wins the prize for the best guitar riff, while 'Pleasure' unexpectedly introduces some electronic percussion to the rock 'n' roll mash-up, and the resulting hybrid sound works surprisingly well. Nice grumbling bass on this one, too, as it happens.
So there you have it: ten tracks of authentically noisy and unrepentant glam rock, with a surprisingly cerebral lyrical approach. Crack open a few beers, turn it up loud, stomp your cuban heels on the living room floor, and it'll almost be like the band are right there with you.
The website: http://www.redresser.live.com.au
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to