Record Reviews: February 1991

National Music Reviews

Lydia Lunch / Rowland S. Howard
Shotgun Wedding/Queen of Siam  Split Single
Triple X Records 

Lunch has taken a break from her spoken word records and has gotten back into making music again.These two Triple X releases follow her second collaboration on the single “Don’t Fear The Reaper” with Foetus front-man Clint Ruin.

Lunch and Howard’s record is also a second collaboration for two, long awaited after 1982’s 4AD single “Some Velvet Morning.” Shotgun Wedding has that same raunchy, bluesy feel, like some twisted Southern adventure akin to Deliverance, but without Ned Beatty

Starting off with the grinding wrench of “Burning Skulls,” the record takes the listeners on a dark chaotic, “fucked-up trip” through the world of Lunch with soundtracking provided by ex-Birthdaypartier/ now These Immortal Souls, Howard. Adding plenty of noisy guitars and feedback, Howard provides the perfect mood to fit Lunch’s angry, brash vocals. 

The record has two excellent covers: “In My Time Of Dying,” which showed up on an early Led Zeppelin record, and Alice Cooper’s “Black Juju,” a rhythmic song, with added text by Lunch, making it her own anthem. 

Probably the strongest song on the album is “Cisco Sunset,” which starts out with crunching guitars and fades into  the darkest blues imaginable. Lunch creates visuals with her sometimes spoken, sometimes sung lyrics. “I’m drinking fire/ With the Devils Daughter/ Goes down like liquid gold/ Comes straight back up/ Like slow dynamite.” Harsh and richly poetic, this record never ceases to captivate me. 

Queen of Siam is is a solo Lunch release, and finds her using many diverse vocal styles. Lunch has a childlike quality as she sings the opening “Mechanical Flattery” and moves on through whispery strains as well as more droning and the poppy sounds as she works though her own version of “Spooky.”

Queen of Siam is more melodic than her past works and doesn’t pack the punch usually associated with a Lydia Lunch record, but is inviting all the same. Instead of slapping the listener in the face, this album is more subtle, but still powerful and great to listen to. This is just one more of the many facets of Lunch, the first real woman of rock.  

Monks Of Doom
Baited Breath Productions 

As promised during their recent tour, Monks of Doom’s latest effort, Meridian, is a breath of fresh air for our musically  stagnant times. 

Former Camper Van Beethoven members Chris Pederson, Victor Krummeracher, and Greg Lisher, along with former Ophelia‘s frontman David Immwegluck step far beyond their roots with this opus. While there is still an occasional “cuteness” to a song or idea, the Monks employ a precision of technique idea, the Monks employ a precision of  technique that is astonishing.

Combining psychedelia with jazz and classical guitar, M.O.D excels with droning numbers like “Cherry Blossom Baptism”  and “Turn It On Himself.” Happily, the group has enough confidence in their musicianship to allow for the outstanding instrumental “geode”  and then follows up with Immergluck’s mandolin virtuosity on “Argentine Dilemma.” Indeed, if an aspect of the band’s talent deserves to be stressed over the rest, it is in the power if Immergluck and Lisher’s guitar mastery. The exquisite strumming and plucking invokes a variety of mood and texture and on “Riverbed” is nearly reminiscent of King Crimson.

That’s not to say all is great about the album. Like Camper Van Beethoven, the band occasionally overindulges in noise’s sake or goes on too long. That said, it’s tough not to enjoy and effort such as “Going South,” with precisely pronounced and accented Spanish blending wonderful “south of the border” style melodies.

Unfortunately, recordings just don’t cut it in capturing the power these guys produce in a concert. Still, if you’re looking for an alternative to mindless grunge rock and cute bands from England, the mind altering music of Monks of Doom might just suit you. Color me impressed.  

Within 7”
Flatline Records 

In my opinion, SEARCH was one of the more under appreciated bands that Salt Lake had to offer. Not to be confused with constant straight-edge label that was placed upon this group of talented musicians, these guys thrust out a sound that should appeal to all listeners of music with rage an energy. This is shown on their recently-released 7” just released on Flatline Records

When first listening to the record, I thought of comparison to Prong and the Bad Yodelers, yet something fresh and new seemed to be incorporated in the two songs (plus a ditty of an instrumental). Excellent production brings out the tightness and upbeat fury of guitars and cool effects work great on “Home-G’s” vocals. Plus, it’s available in a rainbow of colored vinyl. Great!

Tough shit to all of you who missed out on their live performances. You’ll just have to pick this record up, and beat on your self while listening to it, drowning in your own regret of never getting the true experience for SEARCH. 

Shades Apart
Dude Danger
Sunspot Records

The first time I really heard this hard-core trio, was on their tour for their first album, when they shared the bill with Verbal Assault at The Word in August of ‘89. Since then, I’ve tried to hear more from these guys. All I have been able to find was their now overplayed self-titled debut album. Then came Danger Dude, a six song EP on Sunspot records, a switch from the original Wishing Well label. Finally. Something new.

Very musically tight, these three guys express feeling and imagery through strong, deep lyrics and fair-paced tunes that have a on-stop flow. Guitarist/singer Mark shows great playing ability with cool riffs supporting melodic vocals, all fitting together perfectly.  

My favorite tracks are “Dude Danger” and “Rut,” because of the tightness, and overall uplifting essence produced in the songs. Check this one out, along with their debut LP … if you can find it. And if their “rumored” tour stops in ‘ole Salt Lake for the night. Be there!

For more from the SLUG Archives:
Record & Tape Reviews: December 1991
Notes From The Industrial Underground: January 1992