Thursday, March 3, 2011

Arab on Radar - 1997 Queen Hygiene II

Band : Arab on Radar
Album : Queen Hygiene II
Release Year : 1997
Genre : Post-Punk / Noise / Experimental

Tracklist :
1 Attack on Tijuana
2 A Kidney Problem
3 Cop Song
4 At Patrick's Gay Parade
5 Molar System
6 Capt Mouth
7 99c Lipstick
8 Human Type 2
9 Rubber Robot

Arab on Radar is a neo No-wave band. Using the sounds of the 1970’s most rebellious genre as its muse and retaliating against a whole new batch of mainstream punk music. You see No-Wave began as a wholly serious, but extremely goofy retaliation towards the mainstreaminized punk sounds of the late 70’s and early 80’s New Wave genre. The lyrics may not have been a direct attack on skinny white ties and poofy hair, but the graphic, disgusting, snotty sex and violence references make it obvious enough that these guys are angry about something. What Arab on Radar has to be mad about is your guess, but based on their genius band name I’d probably say it has something to do with our country’s attitude towards war. But I guess the most obvious and nostalgic answer would be the explosion of newer “pop-punk” scenes in southern California. And if there’s one thing that Arab is NOT it’s a pop-punk band.

Eric Paul has a voice like a dying canary. Remember that fly character on the early eighties/nineties Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show? Play that guy’s voice in your head, but on top of a sort of Grind/Indie hybrid of incredibly annoying treble and pounding rhythms and you can probably get a good idea of the kind of fierceness Paul brings to the band. His lyrics are something else entirely. Songs are usually made up of a few quirky, extremely dirty phrases repeated over and over as if on some mission to pound the words into your head. “Her underwear as April showers and I’m pissing on her may flowers” and “Repunzal Repunzal let down your long pubic hair” are just some of the examples of this stupidity/brilliance. But as much as the songs take influence from sex they take about twice that much from substance abuse. Even from afar it’s obvious how much drugs and alchohol it took to make this record. Songs evolve sloppily from intro to outro, with detached guitar squeals and psychedelic bass lines. Each song seems to be glazed over with a fuzzy honey-like substance, making lyrics to hard to decipher and songs harder to listen to.

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