Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Zip him back up, he sucks!"


Here's another review which was originally written for the first issue of 'Underground Wires'. All of the albums reviewed within the zine were released in 1995 and were thus required to be written about from the perspective of one stuck in the dead centre of the nineties.

Is Tripping Daisy a band comprised of recreational drug-users? Well, the Texans' second long-player is entitled 'I am an ELASTIC FIRECRACKER'. The cover features an elderly Italian man, naked and covered in what looks like - but surely isn't! - blood (it's Guglielmo Cavellini "in the process of self-historification"). And the final track is entitled 'High'. So yes, they're probably boys who enjoy their illegit medicine.

And what if you were to ask if they'd been taking more or less mind-altering substances since their debut release? Urine samples would be needed to come to any sort of judgement. 'Bill' (1992) came floating in on a wave of grunge, but with a splash of acid. Whilst they admittedly had bassy power chord riffs, and promo videos featuring unkempt youngsters going ape-shit at messy-looking live shows, they weren't making the same empty protest music as their peers. Frontman Tim Delaughter was fresh. He was a grinning bundle of joy. And he was happy ("love makes it good to be free!"). No guns and no self-obsessed moping; just charisma, energy, and (further one-upping Cobain) life.

Mr. Delaughter is still a carrier of all of these attributes, but now he and his merry men also have the weight of a smash hit on their shoulders. 'I Got a Girl' may have been transplanted from its rightful place as track three of this psychedelic suite to a unit-shifting "alt-rock" (ew) anthem, but here it's not a made-for-radio novelty song. Like the rest of the album, it's just gleefully goofy pop music with ridiculous lyrics which are more interested in imagism than realism: "I am there choking on bubbles", "lying here with you is like heaven in the sun, in the seventies", "if I had the strength of ten men, I'd pull your arms out and stick them on your head".

High-octane opener 'Rocketpop' sets the tone for the record as it bursts forth with layers of guitar and powerhouse drumming, before gorgeous Kim-Deal-on-Where-Is-My-Mind harmonies come out of nowhere and temporarily massage the song into a lazy euphoria. This fascinating sense of dynamics is most interesting to observe, and is perfectly matrimonial with Delaughter's voice, which possesses the ability to mutate from a touching drawl to a tuneful scream within milliseconds. Every track here is an anthem, even though many clearly aren't that way intended, from the sleazy and fierce 'Bang', the pastel-shaded 'Raindrop' and the haunting Pavement-esque 'Same Dress New Day'.

This is indeed an album which reflects its title. Like a firecracker, it exudes energy, warmth and colour. And like Hooke's Law of Elasticity, F is equal to minus kx.

Official site
Unofficial myspace (with a nice 'Tripping Daisy for Daisy-dummies' playlist)


Gardenhead said...

Ah dude, you fucked up. There was no such thing as myspace in 1995

Anonymous said...

Indeed G-head, but is a link really a review?