Gay for Johnny Depp - 'Blood: The Natural Lubricant (An Apocalyptic Adventure Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah)'
When I received my copy of Gay for Johnny Depp's new album 'Blood: The Natural Lubricant (An Apocalyptic Adventure Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah)', that came complete with a postcard of a blindfolded naked man and a letter to the eponymous actor requesting "some nude Polaroid's" . . . I confess to being a little surprised. But, remembering the words of Charlie Simpson, "If you can, just sit down and listen to the speakers, ignore everything else", I dutifully put down my picture of the buff naked man and put the CD into my player.
And thank God I did, because it's clear right from the off that this off-kilter homage to the Hollywood heartthrob is a quite unique prospect. Fusing the raw energy of the Blood Brothers, the attitude and controversy of punk, and the sheer noise of Your Code Name is: Milo, this mini-album is refreshingly original in a genre so plagued by identikit bands. All the hallmarks of a good hardcore band are here - remorseless screaming, killer riffage and soaring distortion - but it's the quirky lyrics and the unconventional subject matter, which sees them steer well clear of the customary hardcore lyrical domains, that makes this effort stand out.
The comparative serenity of album opener 'Hey Sailor!' is quickly enveloped by the brutality of 'No Teeth Thumbs Up', a song which may steal South Park's crown in the 'most profanities contained in the shortest possible time' category. Subtlety is not exactly top of the agenda here, to which this lyric pays testimony: "I want to fuck you. . . Johnny". Simple brilliance. Track three 'Sex in Your Mouth' is an excellent lesson in how to make the perfect minute-long pounding hardcore song (it's also, in case you hadn't caught on, rather unambiguously about oral sex). Lead single 'Shh! Put the Shiv to My Throat' is by far the best track on the album (as well as being the only one not to mention Depp by name) and if the energy and the debauchery of the song's bonus video is anything to go by, not catching them on tour with Million Dead this month should be a crime punishable by death.
The album is by no means perfect, though. Although intense and inventive, this CD stops short of re-inventing the genre, and still suffers ever so slightly from the age-old hardcore problem: each song sounds too much like the last one. There is also a question mark over how long the 'Johnny Depp tribute band' gimmick will last. Furthermore, at 14 minutes, it's a bit short even for a mini-album which some may find frustrating. One also wonders quite how Mr Depp feels about this band . . .
On the basis of this brief insight, Gay for Johnny Depp certainly are a band to keep an eye on. Wherever they go from here, under whatever alias, you can bet it will be loud, lustful and, above all, fun.