Thursday, 17 October 2013

Revolting Cocks - Big Sexy Land (1986)


I liked the idea of this band, if you could really call some guy hanging around in a studio with his mates a band. After all, there was the determinedly offensive name, and the involvement of at least two members of the greatly superior Front 242, and that they were obviously all just having a laugh; and of course Stainless Steel Providers was possibly the greatest single to ever feature a two-note bassline; but I found myself hugely disappointed that the Cocks didn't turn out to be those three shifty looking chaps they always had on their record sleeves, but were another one of those horrible industrial supergroups who, much like Journey, Pigface and the Traveling Wilburys, worked by the flawed premise that if you get enough famous people together in the same place, awesomeness will surely come to pass. I've never bought into the idea myself. It smacks too much of wouldn't it be amazing if they had Spiderman in an episode of Star Trek?

Whilst I would hardly wish to imply that Alain Jourgensen - the Jeff Lynne of Revolting Cocks - is in any sense bereft of talent, mainly because I thought Lard and Pailhead were decent enough, there looks to be an awful lot of poop in his back catalogue from where I'm standing.

Ministry were Depeche Mode who wished they'd ticked the box marked Slayer, and that was on their good days; the group who daringly brought caged titty dancing and rubbish tattoos back to rock because that's what we really needed - Whitesnake with a fucking synthesiser, although maybe not quite so poetic seeing as Ministry were seemingly aimed at people who hadn't cottoned on to Spinal Tap being a comedy. We already had Motorhead. We didn't need a version that was safe for consumption by fans of Psychic TV.

Of course, it has been said that Ministry's Twitch album was a significant influence on both Nine Inch Nails and everybody else, ever - although I've noticed this is said mostly in YouTube comments so I'm not sure if that counts, particularly as Twitch owes one hell of a debt to its producer Adrian Sherwood, as does much of the first Nine Inch Nails album; and the bottom line for me is that one of Jourgensen's four billion side projects was called Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters - I mean seriously?

How old was he at the time?

Twelve?

Okay Al, you're one scary guy and we're all terrified. You don't like going to church, but you do like to drink beer and watch bare breasts jiggling up and down. We get it now.

So maybe it isn't all the work of a gurning manchild pulling scary faces and saying ooga booga hail Satan to his mum, but mostly...

Big Sexy Land isn't terrible, but it's pretty damned average - distorted drum machine, noise, someone grunting the usual bad guy stuff in the hope of fostering tedious ambiguity regarding whether the song expresses condemnation or approval of death, murder, and stubbing your big toe; and the usual routinely shocking samples deployed in the usual way - tattoed penis tattooed penis tattatattatattatattatattoed penis, and I know it was 1986, but I was there too, and this sort of crap sounded balls-achingly obvious even then. The only element missing is the obligatory tribute to Charles Manson.

Perhaps through being no stranger to the business end of a drum machine, the problem is that I've done this sort of thing myself so I know how easy it is; but usually you return to your monsterpiece three days later and record something less predictable over it rather than slap it on an album and flog it to people.

To be honest, it's possibly not even the fact of Big Sexy Land being such a complete waste of time that bugs me so much as all those gibbering industrial rock baboons who seem to believe that Jourgensen invented bad-ass, plus paying three dollars for this at CD Exchange and still feeling like I've been diddled. I was expecting at least a few chuckles.

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