Back in the twilight of 2005, I was blessed with a copy of Soon There Will Be Shooting At Unarmed Men. Interested by a member’s association with the sadly departed Mclusky, a band which I’d been intrigued by but ultimately foolishly left for the perennial next week, Shooting was an admirable compendium of tanked surrealism. Amidst unclear rumors of an impending two year break and move to Melbourne (it seems like only the latter is true, judging by Jon’s activity on their forums), their second, or debut proper release Yes! Tinnitus! emerges. The press release trumpets evaporation of Mclusky’s ghost and other beautiful inanities. Yes! actually succeeds by tapping several familiar veins with submerged, treacherous fingers. Six months on I’m more familiar with Mclusky, thanks largely to the wit of the last SAUM effort. Screaming vocals and deranged lyricism? Check. Shades of the Fall and Pixies that reveal themselves as glorious abrasion rather than pale impersonation? You bet they’re here.
Thankfully, Jon Chapple, Steve Morgan and new bassist Simon Jarvis have carved their tunes with a scorn that freezes over where expectations called for explosion. “Pathos At Bathos” makes like “Tame” soaked in Tequila and Sonic Youth’s Sister, the bass deep, not quite dub. “A Horse By Day is A Horse By Night” mixes Texas Pete’s spaghetti disconnection with a coaxing sneer to rival Howard Devoto’s in Magazine. The nonsense mantra of “I Am United Nations” is comparable to recent Fall material, placing stock in dogged perseverance and sharp eccentricity.
Much of the record has a knowing, sardonic bitterness, like the manipulator who makes checklists of foibles with a paper and sandwich in a crowded street, as opposed to the type that screams in train stations. On “Girls Music” Jon sings “I hope you don’t sleep/ I hope you enjoy listening to music made for girls” after a scenario of painful, hateful adequacy is cast. Thankfully, the familiar antihero poster hypocrite trap is avoided, and instead I’m left with thoughts of three very dangerous men to have in your data-entry department. “In-Flight Instructions Are A Joke- Say I” is like the Alex Cox flick that rebels passively, but immaculately, with a White Album groove.
A mission statement on the back of my promo copy promises songs that to Yes! Tinnitus! you can “whistle, dance or fight, depending on your preference, consumption, or I.Q level.” How could this album not compliment all its associates beautifully?
The Fall – Fall’s Heads Roll
Mclusky – Mcluskyism
Magazine – Secondhand Daylight