SOME KIND OF KICK - The Things (Nicotine Records)
Let's put it on the table up front and say that the title track from the debut album by this Dublin band on Italian label Nicotine is one of the scuzziest, rocking-est explosions of fuzz-and-organ-borne snot that I've inhaled in 2008. It's a single and a nine-carat, soiled gem. Carry it over an international border at your own risk.
It's as if The Things went out after dark to pick up stray body parts from the Cramps, Gene Vincent and the Music Machine and made their own monster. They sound like not-so-distant cousins of Californians the Lords of Altamont in the way they weave a wall of organ into waves of fuzz on top of an irresistible beat. In both instances the engine room is top class and that makes all the difference.
So seeing as they're an Irish band maybe folks should refer to them as "The Tings". While I'm at it I'll point out that "Some Kind of Kick" is in fact the third, sorry, turd song. It's a cheap shot to make fun of Irish accents, but I'm part County Cork so I got a right, especially after a few pints of the dark and frothy stuff.
But back to the music and "Make Her Cry" is playing as I type: The demented Evlis-on-drugs vocals of Neilo Thing and vamping organ from Ruairi Paxton are laying out a twin-pronged testimonial. Guitarist Vinny Duggan is sounding especially sharp before he backs off and makes room for the handclaps and a drop-out to kick in. There's plenty more where that came from.
"I Can't Feel" is a slow burner where Neilo pushes his vocal right out onto the edge. "Moving On" bounces around like a classroom of kiddies on red cordial. The bent guitar and vocal of "Salute The Sun" is so much unlike the yoga position of the same name (don't ask) that you're entitled to ask the Maharishi what he put into the brown rice he fed the Beatles and how The Things got to eat the left-overs.
"Psycho Lover" is the most overtly '60s tune, a carpet-bombing run of clattering drums, reverb twang and surging organ. Like most people in rock roll, The Things work with a limited toolbox but they really make the most of what's at their disposal. Good songs also help.
Closer "Sandy Tells Me" is a lilting country ballad by the ghost of The King with Spector-esque production touches. It's a piece of aural relief after what's gone before but there's no sense in doing the expected.
I never thought of Dublin's River Liffey as the most picturesque waterway, so if The Things claim it as their personal piece of swampdom, then that's fine with me. - The Barman
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