No, it's not a Jade Goody exercise tape.
Video Nasties's follow-up to last years 'I Wanna / The 3 New Ideas' single is an eight minute express-elevator-to-hell explosion of a lo-fi bombast. So be warned: If you're not a fan of music that sounds like it was recorded in a plastic shed by a gaggle of half-deaf half-wits that love Billy Ray Cyrus because "his hair has got a nice sheen to it", turn away now.
Lo-fi...what does it mean? Literally I guess you could argue that it means low-fidelity, (which is basically a nice way of saying something sounds shit), but lo-fi as a conceptual descriptive means a whole lot more.
Angst, pain, rejection, loneliness, depression, the counter culture - that's the name of the game. But it's all a little too familiar isn't it? Didn't Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer do all this years ago? Of course they did - and, crucially, they also did something extra - something that still sets punk above lo-fi as an abstract philosophy AND almost makes the religious piety of the fan base acceptable: they didn't get all poncy about it.
Yes some of them went to art school - and yes, some of the lyrics were non-figurative. However, what they didn't do was attempt to make everything sound like Byron or Shelley had written it after a crap day down at the dog track with a bag of really shit opium. Or maybe I'm just a fan of plain fucking talking.
Seminal bands such as Pavement, Sebadoh, Yo La Tengo and the massively overrated Sonic Youth all crashed the party on the lo-fi tip - some more successfully than others - but deep as their presence was at the time (if you subscribe to that assertion), did they really cause a musical revolution? I don't believe so.
Grunge deeply adheres to the doctrine of punk and lo-fi - but it took the double-header of Nirvana and Pearl Jam (two bands whose sound is far more aligned to that of classic Seventies melodic rock than their ridiculously devoted fans want to admit) to really get people interested in the roots of it all. Discovering genres/influences through other bands is obviously no bad thing but when it's a posse of miserable thirteen-year old girls wearing Cobain t-shirts and wiping their tear-streaked cheeks with bandanas, you kinda hope they hadn't bothered.
I've gone off the point. I was meant to be reviewing something. Ah yes - The Video Nasties. So...can these guys make me eat my words with a handful of sour grapes and a slice of humble pie?
Opening with 'Karl Blau' (named after the minimalist composer), the trashing guitars, bouncing basses, clattering drums and wrenched vocals all hit you in the same way that turning around at the last possible second when someone is running after you with your lost keys does. What do I mean? I mean you get a sudden rush when it briefly crashes into your head that the person might be trying to kill you, relief that he/she isn't and then disappointment because you didn't get to use those karate moves you saw Patrick Swayze doing in 'Road House' the other night. Bottom line - it's all a bit predictable.
Naysayers like me will also obviously point out the similarities to the most recent crop of new-lo-fi bands such as The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes et al - and it is indeed tricky to find something that marks Video Nasties as an original act. They're witty - but so are the Arctics. They're a ramshackle flock of musicians - but then so are Babyshambles and so were The Libertines. And comparing them to The White Stripes just isn't worth the effort. I'm not a massive Stripes fan, but even I can appreciate how really, really, REALLY good 'Seven Nation Army' was.
Of the four songs on display here, 'Devil' is by far the most provocative and worthy of note. I mean, any song that opens with "I held your hair when you were sick last night / So tell all your friends that I'm a nice guy" has got something of something about it.
It'll be interesting to see what Video Nasties can do when they've got well over a half hour or twelve tracks to fill up - but on this evidence, I don't reckon it's gonna set the world alight.
Bottom bottom line: It's not really that nasty - and not really all that good.