Review by Brad Green:
The electric guitar is surely the ultimate phallic symbol. Who could misinterpret the significance of Jimi Hendrix wildly caressing his Stratocaster, the fireworks that flew from Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley’s instrument, or most… ahem, subtly of all… the milky fluid that spewed forth from the stiff end of Prince’s fretboard during the Purple Rain tour? The latter liquid often sprayed over the punters in the expensive seats, and is I imagine referred to technically as a “what you get for your money shot”.
Whatever the erotic argot, it’s entirely apposite for the guitar to stand up and show us its stuff in this soundtrack to a comedy about the porn industry. Apparently this Australian production has been in the works for a longer time than it took Linda Lovelace to do the whole of Dallas. In fact, its conception pre-dates Boogie Nights – a film with a comic value more overrated than the erotic value of most two-bit, multi-tit porn flicks – but if the limp grabs of dialogue included here are any guide, this film is even more in need of some punch-line-Viagra, just to raise a… laugh.
The guitarists, however, really do perform. The whole CD is an orgiastic farrago of well-above average techno beats, contempo funk and some fab, old-fashioned licks and tricks on the electric six-stringer. Just how good it is comes as something of a surprise: a bit like going on a blind date, which has been hooked up by a very unreliable friend, and ending up in a night of passion with the owner of a perfect-ten bod.
The list of local indy artists on the sleeve just doesn’t inspire confidence. Experience has shaken my faith in such compilations to unearth a bubbling spring of new talent; usually they just confirm why I haven’t heard of these people in the first place. Here, however, the artists live up to their not very well known but highly imaginative names. Interesting nomenclature is, of course, no guarantee of quality. After all, one doesn’t expect Oscar-winning performances in that video with four X’s on the cover and a cast including Dildo Shaggins, Flesh Gordon, Princess L’ayer, and Forest Hump.
Here we have such exotically tagged outfits as Propaganda Klann, Solterra, Mumonken and Beej demonstrating that their creativity extends to their grooves. What I like about this album is that it is infused with the musicianship of classic rock, which fogies like me still get off on – the guitar riff to the very opening track by Benedict is an absolute Hendrix homage if ever there was one – and also makes us feel less ancient by using dance beats, mod production gloss and unrepentant youthful attitude in genuinely clever ways. Vocals are scarce, but impressive wherever they arise, and in this context I can even forgive a few ribald – well, downright vulgar – lyrics. With the playful brilliance of many of the beats and arrangements here, I’m sure their tongues are placed firmly in apropos parts of their anatomy.
Among many highlights are Beej’s Cairo Blues with a guitar riff that really does sound like a blend of blues and bazaar, some exceptionally slick picking work on the gloriously titled The Nimbleness of Lord Clickson and a couple of unexpectedly mellow and melodic numbers at the end by TC Wright and Wingspan. Throughout the album there is a successful blend of live instrumentation, sequencing and samples that results in one of the most organic sounding recordings of techno-influenced music I’ve heard. There’s certainly a lot less plastic here than above the waistline of the average porn starlet. Moreover, despite the awful possibilities that the premise invites, there’s not a single track of softcore ersatz soul, lurid jazz-lite or hardcore dirty grunge.
And now comes the time for me to discharge my own duty. A critic must always augment the mounting excitement of a piece with a concluding, creamy aphorism. Just send a cheque care of Urban Cinefile and I’ll post you a set of my most orgasmic one-liners (in a brown paper bag).
Published March 13, 2003
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ARTISTS: Benedict; Propaganda Klann; Welter; Beej; Mario Funglulo; Mumonkan; Spud; Solterra; Michael Wheatley; Trigger; Eureka; Maewest; TC Wright; Wingspan