16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2007
This is a curious album, almost like an amalgamation of punk, grunge and industrial rock, before either of the last two even existed as a genre. The sound of the album is overpowering, like being hit by a wall of sound. Judging by the lyrics on this album, that was probably intentional. Doris Day this ain't.
With song titles like 'He's A Whore' and 'Pavement Saw', you get the general idea. The concepts thrown about here are generally nasty and nihilistic, but powerfully so. The vocalist almost sounds derranged sometimes, but again, this is quite impressive. There is no real pretension about this band, and although the album has a disturbing sound, it is not done in an attention-seeking, hollow, Marilyn Manson, 'shock-rock' kind of way. It's just some regular guys who happen to be making unique music.
And it's also music which grows on the listener, strangely enough. A cover of 'The Model' by Kraftwerk is almost sheer feedback, accompanied by stilted, skewed vocals. Suffice to say, it bears only a passing resemblance to the original! 'Columbian Necktie' especially caused a rush of adrenaline and at only just over two minutes long, isn't nearly long enough. 'He's A Whore' also sounds like something almost approaching listenable, to mainstream ears. Despite the title, it is probably the least offensive song on the album, in terms of musical sound. Most people just don't give music this hard and brutal a chance, sadly. Perhaps Big Black are an acquired taste.
Granted, these songs probably won't do much for the grandparents, but then, when did that ever matter? Life-changing or original music shouldn't really appeal to mainstream ears. The opinions of casual music fans are probably of no interest to the musicians responsible for this album, or their fans. Being liked by the majority is seldom the sign of a decent record, musically or otherwise.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2004
this album changed my musical life- I heard L dopa on John Peel and the rest is history - Songs About Fucking will blow out your brains and change the way you listen to music. If you can still get the stuff it will lead you ... sorry grab you by the ears and bundle you into the back of a chevy truck driven by steve albini into a blue velveteque america populated by Killdozer, Squirrelbait, The mighty Butthole surfers,the Jesus lizard, BASTRO, the seminal slint, the happy flowers, tar, arcwelder, volcano suns etc.
The music is as relevent today as 1980 whatever and must be listened as loud as possible. It will destroy your stereo but it will be worth it.
The songs are about ugly violent things generally - backed by a siesmic drum Machine, percussive base, and walls of guitars. A bombastic Phill spector i suppose.
Songs range from a truckers sexual habits, gangsters punishment beatings, weirdo's, destructive relationships and a love song called Pavement saw. each pretty much like a riot.
It changed my ability to listen to music and gave me a sniffy attitude to most Heavy Rock ..which is aluminuim to Big Blacks Lead.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I can't believe no-one has reviewed this!- while not as good as 'Atomizer', 'SAF' is still awesome. Especially to the corporate p***y ears of today!!!
The 'Happy Otter' side is a blend of hardcore sounds with a strange pop sensibility (the same could be said of Albini's recording of The Pixies 'Surfer Rosa'). First track, 'The Power...' is a nasty slab of noise espousing the matress burn-outs of truck-drivers. A seedy take on The Fall's 'Container Drivers', with the subtlety of 'Jordan, Minnesota'...The Kraftwerk cover, possibly exactly how you would expect BB to do it (a reason why they had to end?), p***es over the original...'Bad Penny' has some of the danger of Sex Pistols/PIL; a very Lydon delivery akin to 'Bodies' or 'Public Image'...'L Dopa', is my favourite track- which I originally heard on John Peel's 'Festive 50'. It tells of an 'Awakenings' style existence- L Dopa is used to treat Parkinson's & those afflicted with mutant MDMA (see documentary 'Frozen Addicts'). I s'pose it's a bit similar to the lead character in 'Girlfriend in a Coma', now I think about it. Whatever, it's a violent bass-drum machine thrash with more false endings than A-Ha's 'I've Been Losing You'...'Precious Thing' is almost as good, Albini & Belli's guitars going places you never heard existed. Imagine if Hubert Selby Jr. wrote 'Paris Texas' and you're near...'Columbian Necktie' is a vile thrash that concludes possibly the best LP side in history...'Sad Otter' side is not quite as much fun- some dodgy themes predict the excellent, misguided Rapeman project. 'Kitty Empire' is the standout track here; great use of irony in using 'Bombastic Intro' as the final song...Except here it isn't- extra track 'He's a Whore' is great- but why not go the whole hog & put on the 'Headache' e.p as extra tracks?- 'My Disco', 'Pete, King of all Detectives', 'Things to Do' & their cover of Wire's 'Heart Beat' would have all been welcome!!!
The only things close to this kind of nastiness today are ATR/Digital Hardcore & Aphex Twin's 'Come to Daddy'/'Windowlicker'...As they said: "hey, breaking up is an idea that has occurred to few groups, sometimes to the wrong ones"