4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Obscure, but VERY worthwhile,
This review is from: Teenage Jesus And The Jerks - Everything (Audio CD)
This difficult to get a hold of recording from late 70's New York has everything you would expect it to have from an album of that time and place. There's the discordant, rough-around-the-edges feel of the music, very sparse production values, and deeply anti-mainstream vocals.
But there is more: a sense of urgency and a severe lack of any pretension whatsoever. There is also weirdly, yet atmospherically sung lyrics, about various desolate, but vivid subject matter. The album begins with 'Red Alert' a musical alarm which chillingly blares out, like a musical prologue to 'Orphans', which in my opinion is the best song on the album. Lydia Lunch's vocal here will either be loved or hated. The first time I heard it, I was undecided, but very quickly reached the conclusion that I loved it. It is high and tinny, almost desperate and strangled sounding.
On the next song, 'Closet', Lydia's vocal becomes even more beseeching as she hollers her way through more grim subject matter, including the line "Won't you just please release me?", and a lyrical reference to Sharon Tate, one of the victims of the 'Manson Family'. Here, the music is very slow and deliberate, all plodding guitars and slow, harsh drumbeats. It all sounds incredibly atmospheric and very, very threatening.
If by 'Burning Rubber', you are in any doubt that Lydia Lunch has a voice which could crack glass, the first few moments of the song will soon make your mind up, as she hollers and screechs her way over prominent drums and spasmodic guitars like Siouxsie Sioux on Ketamine. This is nasty, nasty, sounding stuff - but so incredibly powerful that it is simply awe-inspiring!
Then there is the truly mind-boggling 'Baby Doll', in which Lydia Lunch hollers in a feral voice about "Little Girls" in their "Little World", to a backdrop of even more eerie sounding guitars, so stripped down and rudimentary they make a band like the Sex Pistols sound like Lynryd Skynryd. Fantastic! 'My Eyes' and 'Less Of Me' also have a bizarre sounding saxophone element, further pushing this album hilariously apart from anything resembling mainstream. There are also several instrumental pieces, if you really want to call them that. Just don't go looking for anything resembling a melody!
Since the likes of 'Crown Of Thorns', a fast-paced, neurotic sounding, but fleeting slice of Lydia shouting over repetitive drums and thrashing guitars only lasts 42 seconds, and both 'Red Alert' parts one and two both last just over twenty seconds each, and every other song struggles to make three to three and a half minutes, this is probably one of the shortest albums you could ever own. The longest song on here is three minutes and forty-seven seconds long.
That said, this roughly thirty minute album is a vicious assault of unbridled, ferocious, foaming-at-the-mouth, feral vocals from a woman who should have been one of music's most respected frontwomen, all set to a backdrop of terrifying and stipped-down guitar and drums. This is a post-punk classic of criminally brief proportions.