[8 September 2006]
There’s something that needs to be made known right off the bat, when speaking of Lotterboys’ debut full-length Animalia: Any band willing to turn Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” into a disco song, complete with synthesized handclaps, vocoded vocals, and delightfully cheesy chromatic climbs in the bassline after every line of the chorus, should be given a cookie and a pat on the back. Lotterboys, this is my virtual cookie to you.
Animalia is the product of two DJs, Fetisch and Shapemod of German dance outfit Terranova, getting together with a fellow named Mack Goudy Junior, who just happens to be Paris the Black Fu of the legendary (or perhaps merely infamous, depending on your point of view) Detroit Grand Pubahs. And while I’m sure that the blokes in Terranova are just fine on their own, it’s the inclusion of the mighty Pari—er, Goudy, that pushes them over the edge from “you can shake your ass to it” to “is there a difference between so silly it’s fun and so fun it’s silly?”
Indeed, it’s obvious that Goudy hasn’t exactly mellowed in the two years since the Pubahs’ Galactic Ass Creatures From Uranus. Granted, there’s no “Tig O’Bake Fitties” or “Butt Dream” (or even “Sandwiches”) to be found on Animalia, but Goudy still knows how to take misogyny to comical extremes. Try this little snippet on for size, from “Heroine”, which also happens to be the first 12” the ‘boys released: “She’s got two of the longest legs that make the sweetest ass of themselves / She wears her underwear outside her clothes / I’m so weak for her”...and so on. By the time he finally gets to the title of the song (“She’s my bitch in boots…she’s my heroine”), you’ve either emphatically turned off the stereo in disgust or you’re laughing hysterically at the ludicrous nature of the words while getting down to the deep bass groove (actually played by a real bass guitar, from the sound of it) and simple-but-catchy beat. Goudy’s delivery evokes Bootsy Collins and George Clinton, somehow finding funk in these disco-style grooves. There’s even a bit of self-referential smirking going on, as he pitch-shifts his voice right back up to the cartoon sounds that made sure the Pubahs’ “Sandwiches” would never be more than a novelty hit.
Assuming you make it past “Heroine” and opener “Star Whores”, however, that perfect cover of “Iron Man” shows up to confirm that, no, these guys aren’t taking themselves seriously, so we probably shouldn’t take them seriously, either.
Those who choose to remain offended, however, can take some solace in the fact that as the album progresses, Goudy becomes less and less prominent, as if the Terranova fellas didn’t want him hogging all the spotlight, after all. The title track, as a matter of fact, is almost entirely an instrumental, and a decent one at that, a pounding dance track with lots of guitar accents providing rough textures and some semblance of melody. Unfortunately, things do start to blur together a bit as things go on, as there’s very little variation in the musical arrangements, so Goudy is leaned upon to keep the proceedings from getting too tiresome. Despite his best efforts, however, there’s only so far that lines like “I’m in a jungle with your funk” and monkey noises (both of which can be found on “Superdope”) can take you. By the time Goudy finishes his tantrum on the unexpectedly garage band-sounding “Wired and Tired”, the listener can’t help but feel more the latter than the former.
In small doses, Animalia can be fantastic and is generally at least interesting. It’s true that as far as flamboyant words and shock value can take a band, eventually, there’s going to have to be something deeper beneath the craziness of the veneer in order to hold the listener’s interest. With Lotterboys, there really isn’t anything, and that’s by design, but creation of something that’s intentionally shallow both lyrically and musically isn’t about to win the band all that many kudos. For what they are, however—a band that can get your head nodding and, occasionally, giggling—they do all right.
And really, it’s a bit nice to see that Paris the Black Fu still has work.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/lotterboys-animalia/