Reviews


DENIM: Back in Denim
boys own recordings 828349.2 (50 min)

Lawrence, the surnameless frontman of the now defunct band Felt is back with an homage to the K-Tel decade so fierce that the 70's Preservation Society couldn't hold a candle to it. The album "Back in Denim" showcases his new band Denim, and ends years of speculation as to what one of the most cerebral indie- rockers in Britain was planning for the 90's. What he devised is a real shocker for both the uninitiated and Felt fans alike, despite the proverbial writing on the wall since Felt's swan song album "Me and a Monkey on the Moon" with the lyrics on Mobile Shack intoning, "I'm gonna shoot out of this decade in a spaceship, failing that, an old hippy bus". He obviously missed the spaceship, so not coincidentally listening to Denim is like taking an unexpectedly thrilling roller coaster ride back to the era of 70's rock and roll, with a little hippiness tossed in.

Perhaps the most involving cut is the beguiling The Osmonds. The name promises a light romp, instead the song delivers a dizzying barrage of overt and obscure 70's references, from Lee Perry dub to fat Moog and Roland sounds to guitar licks to crazy horses to crushed velvet flares to, well you guessed it, the Osmonds. Another spangled masterpiece is Middle of the Road, the only LP cut to also appear on the EP. Lawrence lyrically and musically thumbs his nose at rock and roll heroes and culture, enumerating all the people and things he specifically hates. The infectious melody and buzzing synthesizers create a real pop singalong, except that it's hard to karaoke through a mad grin. When Lawrence fronted Felt he was constantly compared by the music press to early Velvet Underground, Tom Verlaine, even (choke) Morrissey. His new band is so whimsically odd, outlandish and unprecedented that the musical press will have to mine the 70's for parallels. A close approximation would be Be Bop Deluxe meets "Me and a Monkey...", with a lot of sublime and obvious musical references to 70's rockers like Steve Miller or Styx. Felt fans will be stunned and converted, the rest simply won over. College disk jockeys take note: spin Denim and your late night audience will never be the same again.

And could somebody please tell me what a star jumper or a brutus shirt is?