Wednesday, September 10, 2003

61/49

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2003 at 12:00 AM

You always hear how bands record live in the recording studio, right? Well, I figure what’s good for the goose is gander-bound — so I decided to write this review while listening to the album, live in my writing studio, in real time, with no second listens or overtypes.

Let’s face it: If a record don’t nail ya plenty good the first time around, it ain’t worth a second spin ’cause no album needs to be heard more than once before you like it. Gosh, sis, that’s like going back to a male stripper three times to see if he knows how to spunk you when he should have gotten it right the first time. Especially when you’re the one paying for the slide ’n’ ride.

Now pay attention, because there may be a quiz.

I drop the needle, the dirty vertiginous churning chords to “Devil In Me” spit out, and I think: “This is the kind of sonorous album that Iggy would be recording if he had half a brain.” However, as that little pigtailed pill-popper Dorothy once said: “But if you had a brain, what would you do with it?” so nuts to him because this record is the unbridled answer to that age-old conundrum in that these Romantics boys’ve got big beans in their brainpans and they sure ain’t afraid to use them.

Now we get to a title track that smells like the Cramps in overdrive but without any of their archly ironic sneersucker deep bends. Plus lotsa primo distortion and harp to do you through.

A cover of the Pretty Things’ “Midnight To Six Man” erupts like a frothing mad Doberman pinscher with pneumatic wings and I get imaginary flashbacks of James Jewel Morrison fronting the New York Dolls, all smoldering and sensually wasted in one raw, grizzled gulp.

“When Will It End” repeats the same swervy hand-clapping neo-Stooges musical groove with a Yardbirds tambourine just a-rattlin’ at your feet like a lovesick snake rhythmically scale-humping your boot.

Ah, to hell with the individual tracks because this is one damn decent disc. Even the slow songs (which are squirreled away toward the end) have the same kind of cool, thoughtful appeal to them that Ian Hunter’s best Mott the Hoople ballads do.

So consider this nothing less than a 36-minute crash course reminder of what real rock ’n’ roll is all about — and you can quote me on that, Mr. Under Assistant East Coast Promo Man.

Pop quiz! What’s the speed limit on Highway 61/49?

Yeah, that’s right, stripper boy: You better lick your lips.

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at letters@metrotimes.com.

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