As it is the season to be jolly I thought it was time to crack out an LP I bought last year that I have barely been able to listen to because it made me feel too queasy whenever I put it on; The Numerators Strange. My thought process was that since that’s how I generally feel after all the seasonal over-indulgence perhaps the album and I would have the same kick off point. By jingo, it seems to have worked too!
I bought Strange in the mighty Probe Records the day after I first saw it. I saw the cover and after registering the non-titillating presence of boobs*, thought ‘Lordy, that looks like a scritchy-scratchy oddball drugs LP’ and passed on to other delights. That evening as I was drifting off to sleep I thought about the LP again, the fact that it was a striking cover, the fact that there are only 500 of them out there and the fact that there was a track named ‘Hi I’m Kirk, Fuck You’ – that was the clincher. Astonishingly enough it was still there in the shop waiting for me the next lunchtime.
The Numerators are Brooklyn based psych punks who recorded Strange in Austin, Texas – this may explain why it occasionally sounds like a more electrified version of every Texan peyote-fuelled tripped out band you ever heard, or maybe just imagined you did. What I like about Strange though is the way that the band coral all this wild weird, mount it onto a chugging rockabilly chassis and wobble off into the distance on oval wheels.
Proof? well mortals, listen to ‘Wastoid’ which has a slight touch of the Dead Kennedys covering Dick Dale about it, well may whichever Numerator was singing** warble ‘Run away and hiiiiiiiiiide …. ‘. I really dig second proper track ‘Chencho’ which sounds like an acid fried cover of the Stooges ‘I Feel Alright’, which is very much a good thing indeed. This is in addition to ‘Lonely Wave’ being the best Fall track you’ve never heard and ‘The Karachi Kid’, which has a slower glazed dirty blues thang going down.
Look, there are all manner of goodies in here as long as you don’t mind music made by men who have been huffing aeroplane paint for 9 days straight; after a bit you get your sea legs and learn to love the wobble. A case in point is the timechangetastic ‘Hi, I’m Kirk. Fuck You’, which could be about anything at all – hell, I haven’t got a clue. You could also cite what I consider the Numerators connoisseur’s choice, ‘Hope’ where they bark the title at you in a staccato manner over some driving psych-a-billy that sounds like an old Guana Batz cassette being played on a tape machine with misaligned heads^^.
Strange really has grown on me recently, like mold^*. This has to be a good thing as I am far too clean-living to even begin to aspire to the kind of chemical vandalism you would have to perpetuate on your CNS to hear the world like this. Who ever said you can’t judge a book by its’ weird-ass cover?
This is highly recommended, oval wheels and all.
PS: Some great 1537-style dancing, right here:
*which I am required to do by law.
**two of them share the duties, I suspect whichever one is capable of speech at any one time is the one who steps up to the mic.
^*but not the nearby Welsh town of Mold, which has yet to grow on me at all.
^^much like the Numerators’ ones, I suspect.