Music

Pink Grease: This Is for Real

Kevin Jagernauth

Pink Grease

This Is for Real

Label: Mute
US Release Date: 2004-06-15
UK Release Date: 2004-06-21
Amazon
iTunes

Danger and sleaziness is hard to fake. Rick James, god rest his soul, dripped of sleaze, sex, and sweat. The Hives, who boldly proclaim themselves as a menace to society, still buzz dangerously; seemingly ready to explode at any moment. Hailing from Sheffield, England, Pink Grease take their cues from the excesses of the '70s, mixing disco's hedonist freedom with the gutter rock that made the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street an instant classic. In 2003, the group debuted with an EP and a mini-album, All Over You. The mini-album was a partial success, showing a band eager to sleaze but not quite armed with the chops to do it.

Now, in the heat of the summer of 2004, Pink Grease drop their debut full-length, This Is for Real. Unfortunately, this English group fail to live up to the potential of All Over You and may have even taken a step backwards. What made their mini-album somewhat promising were the backing vocals of the female trio, the Greasettes. Where their presence was felt throughout All Over Me, they are strangely absent for most of This Is for Real. Left to carry the songs on his own, front man Rory Lewarne's attempts to inject the proceedings with a dirty dose of rock 'n roll smack of effort. Oddly, nothing about This Is for Real feels sincere.

From the forced "Uh-huh!" of "Remember Forever", Lewarne calls in his performance on vocals. Armed with cliché, cringe-inducing lyrics, painfully boring rock progressions, and a libido that won't quit, Pink Grease try so hard to be dirty that you can't help but see the paint-by-numbers formula that seems to be guiding these songs. By the middle of the album, I began to wonder if maybe I was missing the point. Perhaps Pink Grease are meant to be ironic. I quickly dismissed the idea, as Pink Grease simply aren't clever enough to be this ironic, and there is an honest investment in creating something genuinely filthy.

It's hard, however, to take the group seriously when Lewarne seems to be calling in his performance. "The Pink G.R.EASE" starts with an eye-rolling five-syllable count by Lewarne: "One-two-three-fow-ah". Later, the group reprises "The Nasty Show" from All Over Me. Easily one of the worst tracks on the album, Lewarne lazily sings: "Get in your car / Baby I'll take you far / I fucking die for you / I want to die fucking you / Fucking the day away / Why don't you come over and play". These are some of the most simplistic, moronic lyrics I've come across in awhile. Elsewhere, Pink Grease simply get offensive with the unnecessary use of the word "nigger" peppering "Party Live". Lewarne and company have no reason whatsoever to use the word, and its inclusion simply for shock value is appalling.

Strangely enough, Pink Grease are tolerable on the more melodic tracks found on the middle of the disc. "The Wind Up Bird" builds nicely and finishes nicely with a synth-textured third act. With subtle use of a theremin, "Peaches" also shines like a diamond in the rough on Pink Grease's debut album.

However, these two tracks are the exceptions, as the rest of the album swaggers like a drunk stumbling through a bar looking for fight, while the patrons, unconvinced by the bravado, continue on with their conversations. This Is for Real certainly isn't, and that's the biggest disappointment of them all.

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

Keep reading... Show less

Beechwood offers up a breezy slice of sweet pop in "Heroin Honey" from the upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod.

At just under two minutes, Beechwood's "Heroin Honey" is a breezy slice of sweet pop that recalls the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, adding elements of garage and light tinges of the psychedelic. The song is one of 10 (11 if you count a bonus CD cut) tracks on the group's upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod out 26 January via Alive Natural Sound Records.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image