The Coathangers – [Album]

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Some records just seem to be naturally predisposed to coming on strong at their start and leaving listeners to feel a little cheap and dirty at the end. That isn't always a bad thing – there are occasions when a little light BDSM is just what the doctor ordered to turn a crooked frown upside down – it's just not a common topic that comes up during polite dinner conversation. That unspoken, pleasurable torment is the thing that will make The Coathangers' new album, Larceny & Old Lace, the best dirty little secret to disseminate out of the underground in years though; listeners will feel a knowing, perverse little smirk cross their faces from the moment “Hurricane” scuttles out to introduce the record.

From that first moment in “The Hurricane,” The Coathangers wear what listeners can expect from them plainly and proudly on their collective sleeve; with stringy, sinewy guitars, haunting synths and taunting vocals, the band updates old school fetish fascination (pin-ups from the Fifties, Bettie Page, or the stuff Velvet Underground were talking about in “Venus In Furs”) for a new generation. That little smirk on the average listeners face never fades, no matter how dark the band's imagery gets, and somehow it's totally understandable; for the listeners, Larceny & Old Lace is escapism at its finest.

Still, as vintage as their fascinations are, it would be unfair to say that this new band has simply scraped the mold off of some fifty-year-old celluloid and handed it to some fresh, new and impressionable minds. Echoes of punk, Riot Grrl, the directions in which the Sub Pop label has been looking lately and modern garage rock all manifest through songs like “Hurricane,” “Trailer Park Boneyard,” “Johnny,” “Call to Nothing” and “Jaybird” which keeps each from languishing in a truly “retro” rut and the schizophrenic energy in each of those songs will get the hairs on the back of any listener's neck standing at attention in anticipation of some impending doom. Singer/guitarist (although everyone in the band does) Julia Kugel scowls, squeaks, snarls and spits lines like “Well, Johnny's going to hell for what he did/the look in his eye was so rancid/he didn't learn his lesson well/now he's going to hell” (from “Johnny”) and “Well you walk like thunder and you pour like rain/pullin' on through 'cause you're a hurricane” (from “Hurricane”) sound like post-punk's answer to the sunshine and lollipops that have poured out of the pop diaspora for decades – you know them so well you could recite them by rote and so can the band – that's why tweaking them as The Coathangers do here is so refreshing, and that's why the band members are almost laughing and teasing you with them as they make their way along here. As acerbic, biting and sarcastic as it might be though, The Coathangers still manage to make the motions they're running through sound like a party on Larceny & Old Lace – be it a swingers party, S&M or just plain old pajama – and make it sound so tempting that you'll want to join in for a roll on the dark side because it just sounds like fun. And infectious? If this band gets added to a bill with Hunx and his Punx and The Kills, clear your calendar for that date; there's no way those shows/spectacles won't be the parties of the year.



Larceny & Old Lace will be released on June 7, 2011 via Suicide Squeeze Records. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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