by Al Kaufman
Everyone knows people who are smart, but not nearly as smart as they think they are. These people also tend to not be nearly as funny as they think they are. But they sure as hell think they are smarter and funnier than you. Meet Clark Westfield and Puppy Mills, the duo that make up Gay Blades.
Westfield and Mills have given themselves the nicknames "The Aristocrat of Crime" and "The Snitch," respectively. They call their music "trash pop," and have song titles like "Bob Dylan's 115th Nightmare" and "Why Can't I Grow a Beard?". All in all, it sounds promising, if they were clever enough to back up all their bravado. But, as much as they will deny it, they don't.
There is nothing remotely trashy about their music. What The Gay Blades offer is straight ahead, guitar-based emo rock. It's not bad, but nothing startling either. Potentially amusing songs, such as "We Wear Mittens" and "Robots Can Fuck Your Shit Up" end up being poor similies for relationships gone bad. They sing mostly of ex-girlfriends who all seem to be remarkably self-centered. Project much?
There are a few good lines in here. From "Hey She Say" comes this charming non sequiter: "Oh she moves in colors and I know that Doppler has something to do with it/A red shift happens and now I can't get her alone/It's how I get off."
The jazzy "Prologue for the Pure of Heart" offers a nice change of pace, and Westfield's whines sound a bit more sincere when he croons, "It's too fucking early for you to be in songs I write."
Ghosts ends with dance remixes, or, as they like to say "en-dance-d" (get it?) bonus remixes of two earlier tracks. Their remix of "O Shot" (originally a straight ahead rocker) sounds like it was done by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, while "Compliments Can Kill" just adds a techo backbeat. Either way, the joke is fun for a moment, then wears thin. However, it is easy to imagine Westfield and Mills laughing just as hysterically the 50th time they heard each take as they did the first time, all the while congratulating themselves on their cleverness.