A HEAVY NIGHT WITH...
ALBUM ROUGH TRADE RELEASE: OCTOBER
17, 2003 REVIEW: DECEMBER 14, 2003
the mid-80’s Jim “Foetus” Thirlwell and Roli Mosimann
teamed up for the duo project Wiseblood. Their intention was apparently
to create “sick macho music” (which they succeeded pretty
well with). Similar ambitions must have been behind the formation of Relaxed
Muscle, another duo, consisting of Jarvis Cocker, in corpse-paint and
under the alias Darren Spooner, and Jason Buckle of Fat Truckers. At least
their horror movie look and lyrics like “I’ll tell you one
thing and I ain’t lyin’/I rule my woman with a rod of iron”
could lead you to believe that.
Most of all it seems like this album must have been a liberating experience
for Cocker. A goodbye to big budgets and big commercial expectations,
and a hello to being able to do exactly what the fuck he wants. Which
at this point apparently is to record scuzzy electro rock. The result
isn’t too bad. The production has a nice trashy quality, with the
songs seemingly programmed on equipment ready to fall apart, but injected
with a healthy dose of strutty glam rock that makes these skeletal creations
swing their bony parts in an obscene danse macabre. It works best in the
sleazabilly of “Beastmaster”, the very Fat Truckers-sounding
“Rod of Iron” (quoted above) and the omnisexual “Sexualized”.
All in all, Cocker’s pop sensibilities can’t help shining
Which doesn’t mean the album is free from flaws. In “Let It
Ride” Relaxed Muscle fall awfully short, although it’s amusing
that the music sounds like a halfbaked Dr Dre production. And the closing
ballad “Mary” looks back at Pulp, a gesture that seems unnecessary
in this context.