Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

This third CD from the COACHWHIPS does nothing to disabuse me of the notion that they’re a one-trick pony, one with a really good trick and a very small pen to play in. Maybe if they’d been prolifically cranking out these shit-distorted flailing garage records in 1992, when there were 20 good bands who sounded a lot like this, I'd be more forgiving (and they surely would've been one of my favorites in that most drunken of years). Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy most of the tinfoil-toned GORIES-style spastic punk they produce. Contrary to the band's determined effort to portray themselves as the ultimate live "party" band, I decidedly prefer their records. Live, the Coachwhips are all hat and no cattle, with every move choreographed to remind you what a wild fucking party you're witnessing, and how the band just "showed up" all of a sudden to set up on the floor with their broken equipment. Revolutionary! Factor in as well lead guy John Dwyer's sacking of 2/3rds of his trio, including the very friendly young woman who originally pounded the keyboards for him. So one original member, just like Styx or TSOL!Not that you'd really know it -- record #3 sounds just like the first one & just the second one, though the 2nd, "Bangers vs. Fuckers" had a few more feverish sweat soakers than the others. "Peanut Butter and Jelly Live at the Ginger Minge" has some treble-driven diggers early on that really kick this thing into gear, particularly "I Made a Bomb" and "Body and Brains" -- but none of them are really bad, to be honest. It's all mid-level octane or higher. I mean, hell, there were a lot of folks who wouldn't go for the Blues Explosion early on because they thought Spencer was such a wannabe & a ponce. (I took the opposite approach, falling for it big & recoiling from it once I grew up). Maybe this guy Dwyer is as well, I don't know, but every time I want to write him off he puts out another hot, feral Coachwhips record. Now how does one solve a critical Rubik's friggin' Cube like that??