Wednesday, March 21, 2012


You’d expect any album with a CD sleeve that folds out into a functional Ouija board to be obsessed with the paranormal or worshipping at the upside down altar of Norwegian black metal. However Lazarus And The Plane Crash are in neither camp – and appear more interested in a game of charades. “Horseplay” is the perfect title for this record, “a collision” between The Clerkenwell Kid aka Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld and The Guillotines' singer Joe Coles, bringing together the arch ‘antique beat’ of the former with some full-throated rock ‘n’ roll theatrics from the latter plus a good dollop of prankster pastiche.

The opening track kicks off proceedings brilliantly: the three and a half minute bombastic 'Edward-the-Confessor-wearing-pantaloons' lunacy of ‘King Of The Village Fete’. The video below is captioned “
The Wickerman meets It’s A Knockabout” but musically this maypole mayhem is a head-battering blend of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Vivian Stanshall. Following breathlessly is ‘Mating Dance’: Nick Cave style self-questioning lacerations and sexual obsession over sped-up East European polka with an invitation to “boom, boom, boom / wiggle it up for me”. It also contains the genius that-explains-it-all couplet “maybe it’s just caffeine talking / But it’s you that I’m stalking”.

Both collaborators continue to undergo many metamorphoses in the nine tracks that follow: Jacques Brel accordion minstrelsy contemplating earth(l)y mortality (‘The Clay’s A Calling’), early Bowie glam art-pop theatrics (‘Deaf’) and single entendre dirty electro-blues holler (‘Naked and Nasty’). The latter is just plain disturbing and then reworked later as a brief, drawling, sludgy Iggy Pop croon (‘Nasty and Naked’). ‘Horn For The Whole Damn World’ is another signature moment for the pairing – scratchy ragtime jazz meets over-sexed Waitsian bellowing. Slap in the middle, the album detours into lush piano torch ballad for ‘Violent Men’ before careening off again of its madcap course. In the final stretch, the last two tracks run out of steam a little – or maybe it’s just that they are not so oddly or distinctively styled as earlier hyper-ventilated collisions?

Some might find the pastiche too cod (or even too codswallop) to bear; like being beaten over the head too many times by an insistent jester. But give in to its gutsy, whirlwind eccentricity and you should fall for most - if not all – of its inspired tomfoolery. Kings of The Village Fete indeed.

Mating Dance - Lazarus and the Plane Crash by FollyOfYouth

Lazarus and the Plane Crash
Horseplay [BUY]

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