Share THE SKELETON'S PROBLEMATIC GRANDDAUGHTER - Gay Paris (MGM)
The blues had a baby and they called it rock and roll. Years later, the same shallow gene pool had been thoroughly adulterated, pissed in and despoiled. Less than perfect, it spawned Gay Paris.
Gay Paris like to call themselves lots of things. Perhaps "shack funk" is the kindest. Think vocals that sound like Lee Marvin after he swallowed a bottle of open safety pins and washed it down with ether and you're close to the mark. Add a band with all the subtly of fee payment day at a Hell's Angel-run kids creche and you'll have an inkling of what's on offer. But that's only the start….
This is brutal swamp blues played by gimps. You can imagine Gay Paris with flecks of drool forming on their leather masks as they shake their codpieces and squirm against their restraining chains and butt-plugs. An inhuman noise arises from this beared collective, leavened only by the cracking of amyl nitrate ampoules under noses before their Svengali-manager-cum-keeper pushes them back into the band room with a taser. And that's just at sound check.
Gay Paris have been taking the swift path to what passes for success on the Sydney live music scene for a little while now, playing all manner of places before letting this collection of nine songs slip out into the light. In spite or because of the band's name and their numerous lyrical affectations, it's heavier than a Highway Patrol officer's heart after a curtailed pursuit of a doof doof car on a double demerit weekend. Its wrecking ball bottom end pulls against a relentless tide of jagged guitar like a moored boat in a Japanese sea town in a tsunami. Just don't play it near small animals.
Sometimes, Gay Paris get carried away by the cleverness of their own song titles. I mean, a tune must be pretty boss to live up to a moniker like "House Fire In the Origami District" and "Future Wolf & The Gay Parisian Milk Incident" and sometimes they're not. (That last one actually is, but I digress.) There's some jamming filling in the cracks but for the most part, the songs go the distance.
There are traps in paddling in this swamp, not the least being we've heard it all before. There's a sense, however, that Gay Paris are looking for new places to desecrate. It's very evident on "Soliloquy From Ether Station" where cello wrestles with chain gang chants and sounds like Chain on very strong acid. "Skyship Of The Contrabandistor" is the closest thing to blues-rock and what a fine, murky stew it is.
It's hard not to love the thug rock of "Turns Out You're No A Cowgirl After All", the swamp-funk "Future Wolf" or the straight-up, cock-rocking clomp of "My First Wife? She Was a Fox Queen." You'd be brave to immerse yourself too deeply in the lyrics but they've kindly been provided in the CD booklet, just in case you're so inclined. It's a fine line between genius and madness so I'll leave you, Roky Erickson and the Reverend Fred Nile to debate that one.
If you're looking for comparators, um, think that great UK garage act The Cubical (whose Beefheart collection Gay Paris may have dipped into) or Jim Jones Revue without piano. If you're looking for no such thing, try Gay Paris on their own terms.
So to sum up...I normally avoid other people's reviews online of local bands before vomitting forth my own but somehow in an idle moment, Google spat up a handful before this was done. Are others confused? And how. And that's good. It keeps people on their toes. Gay Paris might be the Next Big Sting but they're still more interesting, inventive, confrontational evocative and hirsuite than anything Sydney nightclub empire builder Justin Hemmes is immersed in. Humour my black heart and buy an extra copy to send to him, OK? - The Barman
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