(Between now and next Friday, I’ll be counting down the list of my 20 favorite albums of 2008. Obviously I didn’t hear every album that came out–although I did hear quite a lot of them–and obviously personal taste factors into this quite a bit, so I can tell you now that if you’re looking for gospel or metal recommendations this isn’t the list for you. But let’s not squabble, let’s just appreciate all the nice music that folks are making. I’ll be posting about two albums a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, from now until next Friday. Although yes, now I’m a day behind. Damn it anyway.)
The crunchy guitars and glitchy beats that kick off The Chap’s delightfully pretentious third album only give you a hint about what’s in store for the rest of the album. They Have A Name is lunkheaded and a lot of fun, even after you realize that the heartthrob they’re singing about is mostly known for hitting the ladies.
In Fun And Interesting, moody-sounding verses clash delightfully with a refrain by a glammy choir: “Come on, come cloner!/ Clone me another me!/ My generation needs another me!/ Me and me!” Silly, yes, but also hilarious, even after six months of listening.
The vocals on the album are spoken more than sung, for the most part; they remind me a little bit of The Flying Lizards, the snarky group that made a name for themselves in the early eighties doing deadpan covers of early rock songs. You can also hear bits of other nihilistic pop groups, like The Indelicates and Black Box Recorder, though The Chap’s weird programmed beats are a lot odder than Black Box Recorder’s more straightforward dance-pop.
On Surgery, they try their hand at modern R&B; amidst choppy strings, singers Johannes von Weizsacker and Claire Hope sing the song’s repeated refrain: “Hello, hello, blood blood blood./ We will perform surgery./ Your body has things that throb./ Hello, hello, surgery.” Despite itself, It’s oddly sexy for something so nihilistic.
Proper Rock, which calls for “proper songs about girls about clubbing,” alternates choral vocals with guitar-rock bits that sound like the Go-Go’s. “Art, art, art/don’t make no rave, Dave,” they’re saying, but with their high-falutin’ ideas about how to make a dance album, The Chap succeed at proving themselves wrong.
Watch! The Chap, Fun and Interesting
(*I’m starting to really hate writing punny headlines. A lot. But I’m almost halfway done now, so I guess I’ll have to keep going with it.)