Drawings and Garbage Structures

Pattern 25

I didn’t really like this record on first listen, but I was in a bad mood that day — had to drive two hours through a rainstorm, spilled my coffee, etc. — so I wrote it off on technicalities: too much of a New Wave retread, lyrics that try to be deep but just aren’t (“The bluer their eyes/The darker are their lies/The bluer their eyes/The duller are their minds“), and an unbearably pretentious credit line for the group’s main man: “Words and song structures by Rick Roberts.” Come on, now, Rick — song structures? Didn’t your time as a member of The Posies cure you of shit like that? And that “No Synthesizers” tag on the booklet: haven’t seen bragging like that since Queen’s A Night at the Opera. Get outta here.

But now I just listen to the damned thing over and over, even when I don’t have to. There’s something to this group after all. They’re tighter than grandpa’s undies, due to the fact that the other three members of the group are all in the interesting trip-pop combo Spyglass; they bury some interesting frickin’ noises in the mix; Roberts sounds pretty convincing as a boy chanteuse. There’s a whole lot of Gary Numan floating around in here, and I’m a sucker for Gary Numan.

But ultimately, I can’t really quantify what it is about this album. Sure, “Rat or Mole?” is just a disguised rip-off of The Nails’ “88 Lines About 44 Women” — but the chorus rocks! And yeah, “Young Lions (With Whistle Report)” is The Tubes crossed with a bad Police cover band (probably called “Invisible Sun”) fronted by Max Fischer — but it rocks! And no one really needed a “musical de-re-construction” of “I’m in Love With a German Film Star,” by The Passions, an ultra-obscure Britwave band — but that kinda rocks too. Shit.

Okay, fine, this is a fun record that doesn’t get all hung up on “integrity” or “meaningfulness” or any of those outdated canards. Are you happy now?

Pattern 25 Records:

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