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'The Beast With Two Backs'
on 15 August 2008
Adam Ant makes a concept album about schizophrenia and it's a hoot !
'Friend Or Foe' is a cruelly honest, introspective - but madly entertaining work.
Adam has always been deranged. A sexed-up painted dandy, clever enough not to take himself seriously, but naïve enough to believe that brackish honesty is by far the best policy. He's tricky too: you just know that while you praise 'FOF' to high Heaven and grovel at its erogenous majesty, he's already toddled off with his next bit of fluff.
'FOF' is the most pervertedly demented album you'll hear. It has cuckoo spaghetti western rockabilly guitar, clattering percussion, and Adam, mad as a badger, exposing himself, warts n' all, for the world to see.
He's never pretentious, not for a moment self-indulgent. He's like an academically uncouth schoolkid, forever acting the giddy-goat. He's the boy twitching up girls skirts with a twig, drilling holes in the shower walls and flashing his willy around the playground in a witless farrago of exhibitionism. A veritable frothing, post-punk mini-Michael Douglas in a Prussian tunic.
How could he be anything else but a sex-addicted pop subversive, fuelled by frost-bitten decadent insanity?
His songs are so much fun they should have health warnings. He relentlessly takes the mickey out of himself; by ironic spaz-dancing, in catchy thrumming choruses and even the twanging axe solos seem to be mocking him. Freud would have a field day.
"I want those who get to know me, To become admirers or my enemies", Ant chuckles, not giving a fig. He doesn't believe in long courtships, he just wants to get down to the hot and sticky nitty-gritty. He'll do roses and chocolates, as long as he gets what he wants at the end. Imagine a more talented Russell Brand.
Thing is, he's so open about it all, you can't help but smile. Can't help 'admiring' some-one who can so publicly look deep into themselves, dissect everything out in the glare, and not care a damn.
And by extension of course, we can't do anything but look at ourselves. If Adam's this crackers, where does that leave us? If one man can cause this much focused chaos on a music album, what hope for the repressed rest?
Adam has the prognosis; 'Friend Or Foe' is kill or cure.