Something Misbegotten in Denmark
Who Made Who are a Danish trio bent on playing disco non-ironically. I don’t know how they came across this idea (though the queer subtext in most of the songs is a clue), why they’re essaying it when the idea is already stale, or where they got their vision of “disco” from. But Who Made Who is a weird album. I don’t quote press releases very often, but here’s what they’re saying about themselves: “Not connecting [disco] with (Post) Punk and New Wave like so many other bands right now - here the influences come from a wider range of music: from surf to folk to funk to pop with a Big Dose of Italodisco but without being cheesy”. Right, well, the “big dose of Italodisco” seems to have taken over this record, because it’s all I hear. Although I admire the balls of a band that tries disco played “live” in the studio, in the end the spaces are two big, the songs too small, and we’re left with just a high-momentum bass line.
To the band’s credit, the songs are arranged in decreasing order of quality. So the opener, “Rose”, explodes in your face with its galloping bass riff (think of Bill Wyman’s work on “Emotional Rescue”, and you’ll get the idea), while the closer, “Green Dogs”, sounds like a sad demo with an epic synthesizer plus a violin. Meanwhile, we can move to “Got to Be There” (sadly, not a Michael Jackson cover), the monks-poured-outta-Copenhagen groove of “Space for Rent”, and good ol’ fret-spanking “Johnny Lucky”. Vocals are somewhere between multi-tracked Pink Floyd and bad attempts to hit Bee Gees notes. Synthesizers are cheesy as hell, which I dig, but the porn film soundtrack ethos pokes its head out from between the sheets. On the whole, they are conjuring up something more akin to Men Without Hats or Mr. Mister than the disco, but hell, if QTV hires ‘em for soundtrack programming I might endorse the whole game. But this record just doesn’t do it. Word on the street is they’re dynamite live, and I bet some of these songs do come off as unhinged party tunes when the flesh hits the stage. Still, most people will forget these songs too quickly to care.
I think Who Made Who can be summed up by paraphrasing the Smiths: You go, and you stand on your own. And you leave on your own. And you go home, and you spoon, and you want to sigh.
(And no, I can’t get the old AC/DC song out of my head every time I say their name either.)