Sunday, July 8, 2007

"An unassuming sort of X-rated misfit . . . "

"Belt Loops"
The Films
7Hz Recordings

The Films' second single off their debut album, Don't Dance Rattlesnake, takes a wry look at relationships, and the world is all the better for it.

"Belt Loops" is manic from beginning to end, with a well-placed Ratatat-esque guitar duet towards the end that elevates the song to mad-dancing-in-the-privacy-of-your-home proportions. Lead singer Michael Trent adds to the mania, belting out fabulously cheeky lyrics: she's like a devil in a dark shade of lipstick/an unassuming sort of X-rated misfit/her bottle's shook up all you gotta do is twist it/before you get a chance you'll already have missed it.

It could be the mirror song to "She is the New Thing," by The Horrors. Similar subject, different styles: musically, "Belt Loops" trades menace for jaunty nonchalance, preferring to let its lyrics do the scathing. This catchy juxtaposition of substance and style seems to be the musical incarnation of Summer. "Belt Loops" rips for a fiery three minutes before ending abruptly – an anthem for spurned lovers of summer flings if there ever was one.

"Belt Loops" is by no means groundbreaking – just pure hedonistic fun. Few bands of late have been so rollicking and lyrically droll at the same time, however. And if their other material is anything like "Belt Loops," The Films should turn the American music scene on its tired, bloated head. It's too bad, then, that neither the single nor album has yet been slated for release in the U.S. Folks in the U.K., however, should soak up this cinematic sizzler.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rip It Up! No, Literally.

"Rip It Up"


The boys from Down Under really should stay there. Jet is back ripping it up with, uh, "Rip It Up," their latest ripping-it-off ode to every 60s,70s, 80s, and 90s garage band to ever plug into an amp and let 'er rip.

And if you think that was redundant, check out the "Rip It Up" video. No, it's not enough to scream the words "Rip It Up!" 26 times (yes, I counted!). But, inexplicably, the geniuses behind the video thought they should pound the message in a bit more by spelling out the phrase in the video nearly every time it's sung. And I know Australians aren't exactly famed for their subtlety, but this is ridiculous. Watch that video a few times and you'll start dreaming about Is and Ps.

The ironic thing is Jet need to quit ripping it up. "Rip It Up" sounds like it was recycled from a few different Get Born tracks and given new life. Suffice to say it's as boring as Frankenstein's monster was clumsy. The best ripping in the world can't make up for lack of substance, and they've chosen to cling to safe material, forgoing innovation and distinctiveness for methods so tried and true they were wearisome by the mid 70s. Granted, Jet do still sound like Jet simply because of lead vocalist Nic Cester's ubiquitous "Yeah!" ejaculations after every refrain. But, trust me, it's a lot more dull than that sentence makes it sound. The safe market, no doubt, consists of indiscriminate teeny-boppers and their paunchy, midlife crisis-immersed parents. Anyone else should steer well clear.

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