Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Freakshow/All Kinds of Stuff Review
Freakshow/All Kinds of Stuff
Now we come to the piece de resistance of the three singles released so far. Live “Freakshow” was nothing to scribble home about - it was a fine slice of post-punk funk but nothing earthshaking (of course Robert’s accompanying dances always melt the heart). But the studio version of “Freakshow” emerges as one bad-ass beast. The mixers have worked their magic to the bone and woven quite the captivating Cure single. The post-punk and funk remain, but now there is a more pscyhedelic flavor to the song, owing to Porl’s cyclonic, squalling wah-wah guitars, and Robert’s esoteric, almost Lynchian lyrics. The song seems to be a dream-narrative about a dance-liasion with an otherworldly girl. Of course, I could be wrong, and that’s part of the song’s mystique: the imagery-drenched subconscious sense of the words and the way they climb like vines along the slithering, writhing music. These may be Robert’s most Dada-esque intonations yet:
Oh IT’S INSANE
SHE SHAKES LIKE A FREAK
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM
FOR A WEEK
LOOKS LIKE THE ONLY WAY TO GET ON THE BEAT
IS TAKE HER UP ON HOW TO SWING
BUT I AM MISSING MY FEET
And yet there is a loony logic to this scenario.
“Freakshow” is the musical descendent of a trippy “Head on the Door” era b-side like “Man Inside My Mouth.” But in no way does “Freakshow “ sound like a facsimile of that song; it merely derives inspiration from it and spins its own wacky world.
For me, b-side “All Kinds of Stuff” is the strongest of the six released songs so far. Lyrically it’s not wildly compelling - it almost sounds like the improvised ramble of a rather tipsy Smith, musing bemusedly about whether he’s “lost his touch,” creatively speaking. Like “39” from Bloodflowers, the song itself is sort of an ironic assertion of the failing artistic muse - or perhaps it is Smith’s angry answer to fans who have been bleating for years that the Cure are dead (and it most be noted that those same annoying fans continue to adhere themselves to the band).
Musically, though, this song KICKS HOLY ASS! The best way I can describe it is “psychedelic jazz-punk.” The song screams to be amplified as obnoxiously as possible, so that the entire foundation of the house quakes. The listeners must abandon themselves to the amorphous noise, which like a tornado sweeps us up into furious swirls of sound. “All Kinds of Stuff” is a deliciously thrashy affair bolstered by clanging percussion.