[18 June 2006]
Anyone who picked up on 2004’s Bangers Versus Fuckers won’t need a description of Double Death, Coachwhips’ latest release. Take the hardest, fastest, spikiest, punkiest, most fucked-up and overdriven garage-rock, sicko-blues riff, overlay with incomprehensible, snarled vocals buried under a seething mess of electric distortion, play for two minutes, end. Move on to next tune. It worked on their last album and it works on this, their farewell release.
The truth is, it doesn’t just work: it triumphs. You’d have a hard time finding a single more jubilant, bone-headed, don’t-give-a-shit celebration of the infectious sex-energy of pure unbridled garage-punk overkill than this here little disc.
Sure, at first listen it sounds deliberately dumb, Neanderthal, wilfully stupid but … and this is the clever bit… after three or four tunes it suddenly starts to make sense. It’s the essence of rock music, like a mainlined dose of raw pop culture spiked straight into your fattest vein.
You want to get pretentious? This is the soundtrack to today’s literate yet disenfranchised youth, the sound of a sickeningly well-read and culturally engorged generation in denial of its education and looking to get wasted. It’s the point at which stupidity becomes art.
You want comparisons? With its fuzzed-up, blues-shack guitar riffs and bone-breaking, four-square drum riffs, this album is what the White Stripes might have sounded like if they’d managed to live up to the sickening hype-about-nothing. With its instant, born-to-annoy, finger-in-the-air will to shock, it’s how Kurt Cobain could have sounded if he’d been half as smart and had a sense of humour. With its trampled psychobilly moves, wheedling Casio keyboard melodies and repetitive, who-gives-a-fuck-if-you-can-hear-me vocals, it’s what the Fall might still sound like if Mark E. Smith suddenly shed 20 years of bitterness and learned to boogie. With its engorged electrical insistence and gridlock-feedback rhythms, it’s like the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray” distilled from 20 minutes to two, without losing a single drop of energy.
Are you getting the picture yet? If you’ve got any interest in the anti-heroic, danger-in-the-car-lot excitement of Jerry Lee Lewis, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Ramones and a million other, unknown, too-dumb-to-fuck garage heroes, then you probably have to hear Coachwhips.
And if you already think you know everything there is to know about Coachwhips, then you still need to hear Double Death. Gathered here, as a parting gesture for all the fanatics who knew the secret from way back, are 47 minutes of previously impossible-to-find b-sides and tell-tale cover versions of tunes by the Kinks, the Velvets, the Sonics, Adam Ant, Horrors, Gories, Icky Boyfriends, and the Traps.
Still not enough for you? Then direct your attention to the bonus DVD, featuring poorly lit, badly recorded, randomly edited, wobbly, out-of-focus footage of various performances at sweaty, heaving house parties, clubs, bars, and venues, culminating in the most gloriously shocking, can’t-believe-I’m-seeing-this, actual, gen-yoo-wine, mid-song fist fight with a whacked out audience member who never expected to end the night breaking a guitar with his head and being dragged out of the venue into damaged, bleeding, dumb-ass heaven.
Don’t even waste your time reading this review. Let’s go: a-one-two-three-four…