It’s funny, some times you only really notice you’re having a really good time as a family afterwards, other times you are fully conscious of it as it’s actually happening, they’re the best times and they’re the ones to really savour. Today has been like that for me. Up early and off to North Wales to go walking as a family (plus dog) in the Clywydian hills to Moel Arthur, a neolithic hillfort – as a history dude, I have to confess I am a total geek for anything that old, standing stones, burial chambers, hill forts you name it*, it excites me almost as much as coloured vinyl. Then home to a couple of hours of gardening and finally sitting with some wine and a book in the sun – precious, happy time that we don’t always get due to work/life/wife/strife balance; tainted only slightly by burning the top of my head, yeah the bit where the hair used to be!
So back to the important, compulsive/obsessive stuff that we’re all here for; basically I couldn’t pick anything gloomy could I? so I’ve plumped for some happy music instead of the scheduled Sisters of Mercy Body and Soul review, the monumentally gloomy ‘Afterhours’ not working at all for me today. So this is why I’m sitting here, grinning from ear to ear listening to a funny man sing,
Peaches come from a can,
they were put there by a man
In a factory downtown
If I had my little way,
I’d eat peaches every day
I love The Presidents of the United States of America and their self-titled LP (sadly they went rapidly downhill thereafter) and it is perfect for a day like today. Good, poppy grunge/rock-lite with very silly lyrics, mostly about animals, it is just what I need and actually just what the Dr ordered in the immediate aftermath of Seattle back in 1995; how refreshing to have a bunch of guys who just wanted to make us twitch and shout, rather than force us, in a shouty manner, to face the life/death/drugs interface in glorious (anachronistic) HD.
What I always particularly liked about these guys, right from buying ‘Lump’ on cassingle (remember those?) was, apart from a great nose for a tune, they were obsessed by animals and never went for the smutty metaphor where a straightforward animal reference would do instead. I just counted 27 references to animals and insects just now, without even trying too forensically. When POTUSA sing about ‘kitty’ you can be pretty sure it’s a happy four-legged furry variety , as opposed to the Faster Pussycat-approved smutarooni version.
Highlights are everywhere here, ‘Kitty’ with it’s scratching and the chant ‘Fuck you kitty you’re gonna spend the night … outside!’, the grunge genius that is ‘Lump’** (Mud flowed up into Lump’s pyjamas / totally confused all the passing piranhas) and all the various feather-pluckin’ insanity in between. I particularly like the more downbeat ‘Stranger’, the tale of Carla the stripper who ‘seems cool for a naked chick in a booth’ and the hilarious upbeat blast of ‘We Are Not Going to Make it’,
Cause we don’t have the talent
We don’t have the time
We don’t have the patience
and we don’t know how to rhyme
So basically this is my go to LP for a certain type of day and a certain type of mood and, hey, it does rock. You could dismiss it as a novelty record, but I think that would be missing the very good playing throughout and the real wit at play here. It would also be doing a disservice to an LP that helped clear away the cobwebs back in the day. Mind you, too much exposure on the wrong day and this LP is possibly what the authorities might pinpoint as your turning point after you ran amok on the train.
The fact that it is on beautiful heavy weight yellow vinyl. doesn’t hinder its’ cause at all. It’s funny and good-natured and that’s good enough for me.
* these photos aren’t mine, they didn’t come out so well, but when you’re there you can virtually see where the stockades and round houses were, approximately 750 years BC. It makes me happy!
**can I confess my love for the Weird Al Yankovic ‘Gump’? or will you all leave me for cooler, edgier blogs overnight?