Demolition Doll Rods
There Is a Difference
Swami
2006
B



i'm so glad this record was made. Usually albums this sexed-up tend to be juvenile or creepy in their lustfulness. And usually the people talking about sex and religion aren't the same people (where religion = Christian; everybody else is doing it, so why can't we?). Fortunately the Demolition Doll Rods express their sexuality like adults who get it: sex is healthy, fun, and funny. They also do a sincere, overdriven cover of "Amazing Grace" and rock a gospel medley. On stage, everyone wears only a little bit of women's clothing (including the guy).

The Demolition Doll Rods sound like dirty Detroit is supposed to: full of messy guitars, simply-hammered drums, and mildly psychotic vocals. On the album's second track, "On the Way to School," the male and female vocalists take the path that doesn't lead to cum laude, at least not exactly. Where Jack White's faux-naïveté results in sentiments about being childhood friends, the Rods just fuck. Skipping school for erratic humping gives birth to aggressive, absurd, and awesome guitar wailing.

It also makes it okay to define something as "awesome guitar wailing."

The middle of the album does take a tiny misstep, with the Steppenwolfen "We Will Ride" (a good enough song in its own way) shifting the tone of the disc, and the following "Lil' Naked" being the Important Slower Number. For three minutes, the raging vitality of the album stops, and the real importance of this album—being fun and free—opens the door for something far less uplifting than lines like the girl-group imitating "Oooh-ooh-we"s of "Where My Baby Be."

But all that has to come from something other than genital and Stooges fixations or it's just entertaining exhibitionism. "Do It Again" brings that spot of soul with a yearning that's more than a lil' naked. Pure physicality becomes a vehicle for the expression of personal alienation. Desire hurts, and all the celebration of booty calls and saying "Unh!" doesn't make the want, even at the moment of possession, fade.

Most of us would tell a pee-pee joke at this point, but the Rods pounds into a garage take on "Amazing Grace." From what I can gather, the members aren't Christians, but they (or at least Margaret Gomoll) take spirituality seriously, and to this cross-wearer, a hymn hasn't sounded this good since Homer and Marge made out to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Let the overdrive and the thump take you over and you'll be pounding on the steering wheel, barely dodging the feral animals and children of your neighborhood. It's a performance with heart: the Rods are having fun without making fun, and I know a goodly number of hipsters who could take a lesson (not especially about religion, but about whatever).

The biggest joke comes when they follow with a tambourine-led "Ain't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus," an obvious pun and combination of the first 12 performances on the disc, and a more explicit combination of the two meanings of ecstasy. The medley works as the album's exit music—there's nothing left to say, but you need help getting out of here. There is, as the Rods say, a difference between fun and seriousness and sex and religion, but in the end, they all interpenetrate.


Reviewed by: Justin Cober-Lake
Reviewed on: 2006-04-17
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