Thighpaulsandra
Double Vulgar II
Beta-lactam Ring
2005
B-



at five tracks and eighty minutes, the scent of Prog hangs heavy over Double Vulgar II. Musically, Thighpaulsandra takes whatever he wants from wherever he likes and generally makes it work. To badly paraphrase the Beastie Boys, he’s got more than styles than my man John Woo got action.

Delayed since 2003 due to label collapses and some quibbles over the artwork (read: UK’s medieval obscenity laws), this sequel is every bit as mental as its 2003 predecessor. Smearing his eclecticism across the release, each track manages to carve its way through more than just improvisation-based electronica and it even manages to teach those old synthesisers some new tricks along the way. In putting “The Vile Receipt” first he must’ve been attempting to throw the po-faced and the closed-minded off his trail because it’s about as odd an opener (lyrically, musically, and instrumentally) as I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear in a long time. The back and forth vocals with his cod-opera singing mum of contextless lines like "I'm not above using these tongs, you know" and “But does the Commander wear glasses” above babbling horn wrecked ambience demand some form of quizzical facial expression. Is he taking the piss? Is he serious? Does it matter?

The rest of the LP never descends so obviously into WTF territory again, although last track “Bost Sanvay Unst Bit Sumonver” gets pretty close with some peculiar lyrical refrains ("I wipe my penis on his curtains") and an OTT collapsing electronic acoustic mash-up finale. “Imperial” shifts spasmodically along in a cluttered Neu style without much to say for itself beyond its chinging, chanting, and banging. Amongst the rest on offer here “Imperial”’s lack of spontaneous variety makes it suffer in comparison.

When he really hits his stride, he combines his flair for stark raving musical ants-in-pants madness with some good ol’ fashioned conventional song structure and (shock!) straightforward melodies. “Telly for Rex” scrambles around looking for a hook, which it probably found and was edited out later, with some very loose improv guitar work. Then, without warning, fifteen minutes later he decides to turn the song into an unreleased T-Rex song. Anyone else would’ve let it sit on its own, basking in a bit of the easy life of scales and choruses for while, but not Thighps. More conventional still is the off-puttingly titled “Vomiting Child” which starts with some Chris Cunningham FXed squelching metal edits before settling on a world music ballad whose vocals sound uncannily like those of David Sylvian.

No one else appears to be doing what he does, and certainly not above the underground’s trenches, meaning that a Thighpaulsandra release will always stand up to repeated playback. Still, I wish he’d turn his obvious talents to some ‘proper’ songs just for one album.


Reviewed by: Scott McKeating
Reviewed on: 2005-04-29
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