Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shooting at Unarmed Men - Girls Music (Promo Single)

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.

Shooting at Unarmed Men - 'Girls Music' (vinyl rip)

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)

Shooting at Unarmed Men - band website


gareth said...

thanks so much for the Girls Music Vinyl Rip!

Been searching for 'Weapons of Mass Reduction' ever since it came out, and that's about 2 years ago from now!

great great band, mclusky were gods! I still praise them... I love them for about 1000 reasons, and was so sad when they disbanded. But both FOTL and SAUM are pretty good follow-up bands! So, that makes the great lost easier to accept!


gabbagabbahey said...

you're welcome for the rip; eMusic have both 'Girls Music'/'Weapons of Mass Reduction' and 'The Pink Ink'/'Enamel' up for download, so I could get you clean recordings of those if you want (when my downloads refresh).

I really want to hear Shooting At Unarmed Men's Triptych; Curses is a good record, but I don't really like it all that much now that I've listened to the whole thing.

gareth said...

I already have Enamel, and the Weapons of Mass Reduction rip just sounds fine with me! :D

I'm looking forward to Triptych as well... It's actually out since august '07, but it hasn't been released in Europe yet, which is a disgrace! Anyway, I've heard rumours that it will be out around 31 march, don't know if it's true.

Curses is pretty cool, as I think. I've already seen them live, which was amazing, though it was kinda strange because no one but me and my buddy seemed to know the band. (but that's totally normal if you live in Austria). Anyway, it was a very cool evening. The band signed my cd, we took a picture with falco and talked to him about 40 minutes. He's such a great fellow, It was like talking to your best friend (only in english). It was like we knew each other for years... I liked the atmosphere.

gabbagabbahey said...

I've come to the tentative conclusion that I like Jon Chapple's part of Mclusky more than Andy Falkous's; Curses sounds in need of some softening to my ears, it's a bit too shouty for me. In some ways, I don't want to think about it too much, for fear of deconstructing Mclusky in my idea and losing my enjoyment of them (unlikely, admittedly!)

either way, I'm sure FOTL will put on a terrific live show.

kind of similar, when I saw Fight Like Apes for the first time, and they played their cover of 'Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues', there didn't seem to be many people there who knew Mclusky - but they recognized it as a great tune anyway.