Friday, December 5, 2008

How Does One Write About Stupidity? (It's another review, dumbass!)


I Need You...Like A Hole In My Head
Go Fast Records

So it's getting cold. Of course, one can always go to Sweden! We'll be here a little while longer. For some odd reason, this place is just full of incredible bands. After all, it's so fucking cold up there that there might not be much more to do. Stupidity is a bit enigmatic in that they're somewhere right in between '60s garage and rockabilly. It's a strange combination of music with little similarity. It works for them well on their debut I Need You...Like A Hole In My Head. "Too Bad" is a straight up mod punk but vocal lead Ernis Orniz/Lundqvist has this burned up biker rasp that's more narrative than singing. The following "Lost" is more a rockabilly guitar melody with a great beat from Tommy Boy Sjostrum that packs more energy into the song, but the line "Sitting on my sofa with nothing to do, thought I'd go to Texas, that's what I should do" is not something you'd hear in a garage rock tune, despite the state's well known place in garage rock history. Even Pa's guitar riffs in the middle are rockabilly. The song burns in enough ways that it'll drive itself to Texas or Hell; whatever comes first.

Miss Anna Palmer's bass on "Wow-Wow-Wee" come straight from Bruce Foxton while Erniz's voice goes low and smooth. The additional horns give it a little bit of lift, which is perfect for the subject matter of going nuts over a girl that's really cute but out of your league. Something that makes Stupidity stand out is the songs are simply 'fun.' It's some weird combination of musical timing with the beat, or maybe the drumming being the lead instrument, that just makes the songs sound cool. This could be all wrong, but this trait seems seems to be prevalent in other garage based bands from Sweden and it definitely makes the music rock hard while having a certain youthful elation in its rebellion of just being loud and fun. This is well illustrated on the Underground Garage Coolest Song in the World "A Girl Named Moe." Ornis/Erniz goes from zombie scratch then to creepie ghoulishness in the ending phrase "I got a girl" that's just cool and eerie while PA's three chords (mostly one) are perfectly simple and straight ahead with the exception of his solo brought on by Ornis/Erniz's command "Guitar!," but Tommy Boy's drumming pounds its way into his own solo parts. It must be the timing. Everything has this feel of sounding perfect in arrangement.

One even finds a touch of dark blues with some great heavier guitar on "Last Night" that seem to shed light (or darkness) as a louder and edgier tribute. The album's title track has Anna's Flying V Bass just thudding away while Mr. Lundqvist let's his voice scratch, carry off into the distance and then approaches Dave Vanian's late gothic Damned phase without sounding as serious or out of place like that forgettable period for The Damned. In many ways, I Need You...Like A Hole In My Head is modern garage rock. It's '60s garage rock basic songs mixed up with neogarage The Cramps and The Fuzztones with a punk drive like 999. This is clear on the rockers "Headache" and "Out of Bounds", although the latter has a little fuzz and some horns thrown in that combine with vocal desperation akin to "Final Solution" by Pere Ubu. There's also a great update of The Standells classic "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" with a screeching guitar, handclaps, and a slightly faster tempo. With a song title like "California", one would likely think surf, but it's only a beginning on its way to hints of louder Flamin' Groovies, which is awfully cool. "I'm Walking Away Now" is more a simple British Beat based song. Is this the same band? It is. Like any really good garage band, they know were to rob from, only they take a broader approach by drawing from r & b, garage, garage punk, rockabilly, and 70's punk. The result is a strong rock 'n' roll base that's harder to pin down. There's even a strong trace of The Count Five "Psychotic Reaction" on "Move A Little Closer", but it also gets caught up in Billy Childish and The Medway Sound.

"Pure Stupidity" is almost tribal garage beat but throws in harder edged punk guitar and Ornis/Orniz takes lead in scratched up vocal scowling. Lundqvist seems (and sounds) like the slightly older guy who can only rock with young punks because the old ones can't keep up with him! There are so many things going on with I Need You...Like A Hole In My Head that one's not sure what they're hearing, only that it's loud and fun rock 'n' roll that's different enough that one would enjoy hearing it often. That's a good definition for a great rock 'n' roll record. One really couldn't ask for more.

A Girl Named Moe

Too Bad

I Need You...Like A Hole In My Head is available in the U.S. at cd baby. Although there's another internet retailer out there in the US, cd baby only sells music that's sent directly from the artist. The artist also gets up to six times more in return than they would get with a distribution. They have a multitude of sites for Europe. Go to Stupidity for that list.

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