Blame It On The [Incomprehensible]

So many lectures, got twisted away
Too many questions, looking down on my day, hey, hey
I’m getting sick but I think of the time
Blame it on the [Incomprehensible]

Ahh, yes the Incomprehensible – I always blame them too, well they can’t argue back too well can they?

The above is taken from a website’s best attempt at the lyrics to ‘Sick of Doing Time’ by Young Heart Attack, from their phenomenally wonderfully supremely named Mouthful Of Love.  I remember when it came out it was the first full-on hard rock LP I’d bought in ages that I had got excited about properly, for a year or two prior I had mostly been a bit of an audio-archaeologist in order to get my kicks.  But following a magazine article where I liked the sound of them, the publicity boost that co-vocalist Jennifer Stephens’ rumoured fling with Justin Hawkins of the Darkness gave them didn’t hurt and I picked up the singles of Misty Rowe, Tommy Shots and Over And Over before the LP came out, was blown away by them at Liverpool University on 7 April and went to the record shop before work on 13 April 2004 to pick up Mouthful Of Love the morning it came out.

Young Heart Attack Mouthful 03

What did I get for my money? well a pretty full-on, in your face rock album right from the off with the title track, ‘Mouthful of Love’.  You can use all the standard hard rock comparison points, but to my mind their basic sound is a faster-paced AC/DC via The Who’s best bits* – pure raucous energy.  The main vocalist Chris Hodge is pretty extraordinary, I remember him looking like a short Ian Hunter clone live, but he doesn’t sing a note on the whole album – HE SHOUTS EVERY WORD, never once veering into screaming, bellowing or bawling, he SHOUTS.  He is a Goddamn master at it too, it serves to really amp everything up and give it a jolt of energy.  The really clever bit though is the way they use Jennifer Stephens’ vocals to smooth out the sound and act as a counterpoint, without which it would all sound a bit like being caught between two drunks fighting for a taxi.

This is actually the label for side 1 of the LP.
This is actually the label for side 1 of the LP, irrelevancy fans!

You want proof? check out ‘Tommy Shots’ which begins with Stephens singing before Hodge comes in and shouts all manner of incomprehensible stuff over the top and then it all gets a bit slinky, the music drops out and she whispers ‘Cha, cha, cha, cha’ in a way that, quite frankly, excites me.  True story.  Although this is helped by memories of seeing Jennifer Stephens move live, nothing brassy, nothing too obvious or in your face, but ever so slinky. Cha, cha, cha.

Young Heart Attack mouthful 05

The production by Cliff Jones, of Gay Dad ‘fame’, is excellent too he keeps every single meter firmly in the red throughout the whole of Mouthful Of Love, the net result is an LP that constantly sounds like it’s teetering on the edge of chaos, about to lose it on Dead Man’s Curve.  I’ve no idea why he hasn’t done a whole load more producing.  Even the one slower track, the bluesy ‘Take Me Back Mary Jane’, which shuffles towards Georgia Satellites territory, has an interesting edge to it in the form of Stephens muted backing vocals.  Tracks like ‘El Camino’ have a comparatively experimental noisy side to them too.

Young Heart Attack Mouthful 04

But this is a rocker and whilst there are a couple of tracks that don’t quite hit the mark, at its’ best it ranks with any loud, good-time stuff I own.  My twin favourites are ‘Misty Rowe’ which is just Young Heart Attack in excelsis, loud, shouty and raw, very loud, very shouty and very raw in fact – truly excellent stuff and ‘Starlite’ the introduction of which must be the single most blatant steal from ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ ever!  They didn’t even bother to disguise it in any way, shape or form, but there again its brilliant, so why would you? it is also the track here with the best pop tune.

Young Heart Attack Mouthful 01

Young Heart Attack never quite hit it any bigger then they split, got back together and made another LP which I’ve not heard.  The bassist Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith, who sang their cover of MC5’s ‘Over and Over’ when I saw them, has gone on to produce and mix with Jet, The Darkness, The Datsuns, Slayer and many others.  I never quite got why they didn’t get to the next rung on The Awesome Ladder of Rock (TALOR), they were really great live too.  Still, let’s remember them here as one of Austin’s best bands and cop an Earful of Love.

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P.S – Having just listened to ‘Sick Of Doing Time’ six times over I can now reveal that the word ‘Incomprehensible’ can now finally be replaced, the correct lyrics are:

So many lectures, got twisted away
Too many questions, looking down on my day, hey, hey
I’m getting sick but I think of the time
Blame it on the Nyarrhottempppayy

No need to thank me, it’s what I’m here for, helping you with all life’s little mysteries.

PPS – Support at this gig was Viking Skull – anyone remember them? Jeez, they were awesome!  You haven’t lived until you’ve heard either ‘Beers, Drugs & Bitches’, ‘Wizard’s Sleeve’ or ‘You Look Like I Need a Beer’, Mrs 1537 kissed their singer.  Jennifer Stephens was dancing behind be during their set (sighs – contemplates what may have been).

*their knuckle-dragging rocky bits, not the clever bits I don’t have any time for.

8 thoughts on “Blame It On The [Incomprehensible]

  1. Once again your perceptive, passionate prose peaked my plastic pessimism into playing a platter who’s paralyzing performance is palpably primeval.
    Perhaps it’s four words? Near Hot Temp Pay”?

  2. I’ll give them bonus points for that album title. And it seems there’s quite a few bands that sing about this “Mary Jane” gal. She must really get around.

  3. “Nyarrhottempppayy” – I googled this word and found nothing. I am confused.

    It’s not easy to pull of an album where you shout all the time. Rollins can do it.

      1. AArggh! I’ve played this about 6 times tonight – I fear I may have inadvertently summoned the unseen lord from beyond the threshold of sanity!

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