This Is For Real
This is a band who pride themselves on flat stomachs, smudged, morning-after eyeliner and a complete lack of fear at wearing yellow trousers. For this alone they must be saluted.
Pink Grease hails from Sheffield, England, a city whose only previous contributions to the modern pop-cultural canon are the kitchen-sink brilliance of Pulp and the shimmery pop of ABC. Other than that, the city is just a testament to the decline of industry and an inferiority complex. I lived there for a while.
My theory, for what it’s worth, is that this landscape and culture of decline directly lead to such sparkly pop gems as Pink Grease. Sheffield used to be an integral part of British industry. It is still known as the steel city, but only in retrospect. The men who used to make the cutlery we all ate our TV dinners with are now expected to be call centre jockeys.
But Sheffield is not a city of losers. It is a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps kinda place. And the bootstraps Pink Grease wield are of the leather pimp type. Often, it is these areas with a reputation of grey, workman-like labor that produce the most flamboyant pop thrills. Think Manic Street Preachers rising from the ashes of post-coal mining Wales or the White Stripes in Motor City Detroit. From harshness comes beauty. Or, at least, boys with great hair.
But anyway, I’m not a sociologist. I’m a pop critic: what does it sound like? Imagine a band in thrall of Soft Cell and the attitude of the New York Dolls, worrying if punk is too passé to be influenced by, but still digging its primal thrills and a singer whose love of Michael Jackson is tempered only by the dirtier moments of Prince. Then you’re getting close. There’s synth, there’s sax, and there are countless mentions of “shaking,” “ass” and “sweat.” This is no meaningful record, but it’s not meant to be. It’s basically a Devo record without the politics and with more filth. Put on your PVC and shake it, baby.
Pink Grease: www.pinkgrease.com