Sarandon - Kill Twee Pop
Record Label: Slumberland Records
Release Date: April 22, 2008
Large doses of spastic garage rock and slips of new wave punk swish around and flop about through Kill Twee Pop, the latest album from the UK’s rock trio Sarandon, released on Slumberland Records. At times the band’s tunes sound like covers of classic rock songs that hark back to an earlier punk rock age, when The Rolling Stones were at their peak and rock bands were sprouting on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean due the profusion of electric guitar models and multi-tracking systems made possible by guitarist Les Paul. Sarandon’s songs have an offbeat simpatico that would fit right in with the music featured in England’s screwball comedy The Young Ones, which acquired a cult following in the early to mid-80s. Sarandon are another band that is either too late to be fashionable or they have rediscovered rock music that is worth excavating and reliving.
Courting avant punk stylistics reminiscent of Devo on tracks like the title track “Kill Twee Pop,” “Mark,“ and “Good Working Practice,” Sarandon show that they feel quite comfortably grinding their chords into weird angles and spastic rhythmic forms. Melodic patterns with geysers flowing of treble rock and post new wave punk pile in through “The Discotheque is My Love” and “Mike’s Dollar,” while songs like “Welcome” and “Massive Haircut” have an retro rock intonation that prunes the guitar cuts into moving in tempo with the rippling drumbeats displaying thumping movements reminiscent of the early Rolling Stones. The slinky rhythms played by drummer Tom Greenhalgh and bassist Alan Brown for “The Completist’s Library” are massaging as the guitar patterns and vocals of frontman Crayola achieve a dreamy simmer, but the album has a proliferation of spastic wiggling movements and garage rock textures comparable to Maps & Atlases racking up a rushing momentum through “Very Flexible” and bluntly edged drizzles through “Lippy.”
The album is a motley bunch showing specks of old school punk and retro rock postures that the band dusted off and put into tracks like “Joe’s Record” and “Remember Mavis.” The band’s lyrics take on the voice of a gossip columnist or a group of buddies who share gossip in a local pub like in “Remember Mavis” when Crayola sings, “Remember Mavis? / She grew up / She even got her life on track / Now she works in Barclays Bank instead of lying on her back / It was cold when I caught the bus / I saw Mavis at the back / It's been a year since we broke up and she got the semi detached… And now our Mavis is well off / I'd love to punch her stupid face.” But the lyrics for “Mark” may actually strike a chord with listeners: “My brother had a phone / Put in his room at 13 and called downstairs to ask mum for a cup of tea / My brother spent at least 10 years without a word for me / Installed Sky-TV that only he could see / My brother got his first job at the age of 16 / Bought a suit and a tie and overnight became 33 / My brother's spent at least 10 years working steadily / But it took our dad's death to make him friends with me.”
Sarandon have released five EPs previous to Kill Twee Pop, but it is Kill Twee Pop that feels most like a campaign ad to return to the avant punk rock intonations of the late 70’s and early 80’s. The trio have excavated piles of this stuff and dusted off classic rock crystals that are deep in the collective consciousness of society. Kill Twee Pop is a concrete edifice emblematic of spastic garage rock and post new wave punk, a synthesis that Sarandon feel relates to their lives.