Tomorrow I'll post part two of the Mclusky Singles post, but for now here's a nice little ditty (and genuine vinyl rarity) from one of the two ex-Mclusky bands (the other being Future of The Left).
Shooting at Unarmed Men began while Mclusky was still active as a band and shared the same label Too Pure, hence this promo single. The Wikipedia page on the band is a little confusing: band leader and former Mclusky bassist Jon Chapple emigated to Melbourne, Australia in 2006 and the band played "their last gig in the Northern Hemisphere on April 16th 2006 at Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach", which makes the date on this poster - from clwbiforbach.blogspot.com, 'Home to the Underground Promoter' - a little strange.
('Clwb Ifor Bach = Little Ivor's Club, named after a medieval Welsh nationalist rebel)
(I don't know about anybody else, but I find the Welsh language kind of cool. Maybe it's the small part of my genealogical heritage, or maybe it's the similarities with the Irish language - 'Clwb Ifor Bach' would be 'Club Ivor Beag' as Gaeilge)
Shooting at Unarmed Men represent one part of the Mclusky sound, with current noisemakers Andy Falkous's Future of the Left representing the other. It's what you might call a qualitative difference, and I'm not sure I can describe exactly what it is. Shooting at Unarmed Men take some of the more melodic parts and quirky rhythms of Mclusky, while Future of the Left and Andy Falkous represent the rawer, apopleptically vocal side. At least that's the way I understand it.
They both sound very much like Mclusky though - in a progressive sense - and that's the important thing. I guess it's a reflection of Mclusky's schizophrenia and unity through diversity that it could produce two qualitatively different and yet admirably representative bands; without being able to easily pigeonhole either of them as taking 'that part' of Mclusky's sound.
'Girls Music' is a great twisted pop song, with a good Pixies line in catchy rhythm and pieces of throwaway nonsense like "did you know your vagrance smells like tin" and the stinging refrain "I hope you like listening to music made for girls". Smooth bass, explosive guitar and vocals, and a high-pitched melody: just like your favourite Mclusky song all over again, almost.
'Weapons of Mass Reduction' is a little different; similar format perhaps, songwriting-wise, but scuzzed-out and compressed to an almost unrecognizeable degree. Mclusky always did like to combine pop catchiness with impressively abrasive, punky noise; and this is pretty much what's happening here, in a charmingly lo-fi indie way. Plus, the line "contrary to his take on time he he had been aware of himself physically for only three days" delivered in a mock-serious British tone always cracks me up.
Vinyl Inscriptions: Side A - "May the best loser win". Side B - "What are the odds of it happening twice"
Further Listening: 'Girls Music' was also released on Pure as a proper single, both I think with 'Weapons of Mass Reduction' as the B-side and with 'Pink Ink'; 'Girls Music' also appears on their debut album. Their second full-length, 'Yes! Tinnitus!' (shades of Regulator Watts there) is very much recommended; while a third, Triptych - a three-disc record; how punk is that! - has apparently been released in Australia.
Shooting at Unarmed Men on eMusic (incl. 'Girls Music' single)