The Ancient Cry of the Tyrannosaur
By Bryan Aiken
often read that Attractive Eighties Women, Atlanta’s equally preferred and
maligned “comedy-core” outfit, are better seen than heard, that the band’s
debut studio LP fails to capture the charm of its ridiculous, costumed
performances. While that may be true, it’s that refrained criticism that
inspired this review: I’ve never seen them live, I held no expectations upon
entry, and frankly, I think the album rules.
musicianship, solid production, and no-bullshit rock ‘n’ roll underpins
vocalist Phoebe Cates’ nearly-entirely-bullshit lyrics, that is, even at the
sum of its shakiest parts, honestly and purposefully hilarious. On the sixth
listen, a bulk of the gags are just as potent, and a week after first contact,
I’m still mumbling, “Bill Dance, motherfucker,” in the shower. It’s novelty
music, sure, but it’s as catchy as it is kitschy.
its core, Ancient is not so far a cry
from rock ‘n’ roll purism. In an act that lampoons what it so obviously
reveres, the album easily earns a place in the same fun-above-all beer-stained
jukebox musculature as Andrew W.K. and Tenacious D: part-reverence,
part-caricature, part-mudslung truck drunkenly jumping a fiery ramp of party.
But just as
no pickup goes without a hitch, Ancient
does suffer the predicted shortcomings. At 15 tracks and nearly 45 minutes, the
album is a bit tiring for its shtick, and not all the songs are as amusing as
any listener would require. However, the tracks are arranged with utmost
comedic pace: all the best material is in the first and final thirds, saving
the knockout punch for a surprising unlisted climax.
something commendable and immediate about rock without pretension, irony without
smarm. In a scene and era where rock ‘n’ roll can be given to the totally
self-righteous, Attractive Eighties Women focuses on the “totally” and “righteous”
part of that formula, in an overall refreshing effort that could help save a
genre from itself.
In the end,
comedy is no light craft. There’s a dangerously fine line between comedy and
tragedy, savior and menace, chocolate shake and diarrhea, and bless the Women
for having the balls the brave it.