Not many bands get as far as their fourth decade in the business and
still sound as fresh as this. Mad, bad and just a little bit dangerous
to know, Pere Ubu, with David Thomas ever at the helm, continue to shake
things from the bottom up with their fifteenth studio album 'Lady From
Shanghai'. They've never ever come close to the middle of the road and
the eleven tracks in this uncompromising collection are no exception to
the rule. Abrasive, loose-limbed and often very funny, it's a breath of
unpredictable fresh air which cocks a snoot at so many fly-by-night trends.
When Mr Thomas sings "You Can Go To Hell", in muffled tones, to the melody
of Anita Ward's 1979 hit 'Ring My Bell' against the grungily insistent backbeat
of opening number 'Thanks' I didn't quite know whether or not laugh or cry but
very nearly ended up doing both simultaneously! He clearly hasn't lost his sense
of humour. The spirit of Captain Beefheart never seems too far away in these
wonderfully ramshackle performances. The fractured skiffle of 'Feuksley Ma'am,
The Hearing'; the dark, angular snap and snarl of 'Musicians Are Scum'; 'The
Road Trip Of Bipasha Ahmed', a rambling spoken blues straight out of a David
Lynch movie and the deliciously obtuse final track 'The Carpenter Sun', an
abstract and quasi-improvised little slice of someone's darkest nightmare.
It's all good. It pokes you in the ribs and tugs at your teeth. It's a hoot!