It’s not a great sign when the best track on an album relies heavily on a guest vocalist. Discuss…
It’s also not a great sign when the best track on an album is a cover version… of a rock standard. Discuss…
OK, now that you’re all back, I’ll argue that is somewhat of a problem with this here final album from Make Up (note ongoing subtle name changes).
The track in question is Hey Joe and it closes out the album. It is a fantastic rambling 7 minute plus version of this classic, with some luscious lead vocals by someone called Heather Worley (Google tells me nothing about her!).
Strangely, it is the most Make-Up of all the songs on the album, with some strong vocal interactions, a fierce groove, a pounding rhythm break mid-song and the appropriate level of hysterics.
Alas, the rest of the album doesn’t have that vibe. The band appears to have abandoned much of the ‘gospel yeah yeah’ sound they’d espoused on previous recordings. Instead we are left with an album that feels like a (less indulgent) Jon Spencer Blues Explosion album. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it renders this my least played release from this combo.
File under: Save some dough and buy their other albums first
I’m a fan of an album that really needs to be listened to in one hit.
This second studio effort from the funkiest white Washingtonians fits that bill from intro to outro. It also captures the essence of this band incredibly well.
This is a band that loves a groove, a screamed plea and maintaining a vibe.
Frontman Ian Svenonius continues to destroy his vocal chords with exaberated exhortations bemoaning his romantic treatment, while invited as all along for his gospel music rides. If there is a church somewhere that presents the righteous message in just such a format then I might well get out of bed one Sunday morning, don a natty suit and mosey on down (conscious of likely lightening strikes).
The album is not quite perfect. It curiously loses a little momentum and energy in the back half, (what I suspect might well be ‘side 2’ on any vinyl version), with a groove ever so slightly on the somnolent side. Nevertheless, I feel Live in the Rhythm Hive:
File under: Make-up your Mind
I have particularly fond memories of this Washington DC outfit striding onto the stage one sunny afternoon at the Meredith Music Festival.
They were unkown to me, and to most in the crowd. Yet, within minutes, I was hooked.
The black-clad quartet beguiled us with a unique mix of punk and funk and bluster. As on this debut release, they were pedalling some patented “gospel yeah yeah sound”.
It’s all about style, about laying down a primitive bass line, some sparse guitars and crooning over it in a falsetto Screaming Jay Hawkins style. We’re urged, call and response style, to drive some mythical revolution through our embrace of all things Make-Up.
This is The Cramps without the rubber and perversion, and one of the rare instances where a gang of white folks playing garage manage to capture the true funk-gospel vibe.
This is a live album, but it still doesn’t quite capture the pure adrenalin rush of seeing them on stage. This video does go a little closer (even if the sound quality is on the poor side):
And here’s a cracking track off the album:
In hindsight, I’m wondering whether the band wore red on stage…
File under: I’m there