(07-01-1989) Melody Maker

From The Frogs Fansite
Jump to: navigation, search

American hardcore has long had a mile-wide streak of homophobia. To an extent it's simply the case that the sardonic range of groups like Angry Somoans and The Meatmen is so omnidirectionally inclusive it would be odd if it didn't zap gays now and then. But it's also that hardcore (like the army, police, sport) is an all-boys-together fraternity based on misogyny and latent homo-eroticism, something which can only be coped with by being projected onto a scapegoated other. Hence hardcore songs like "I Caught AIDS From A Dead Man's Arsehole".<br&> <br&> But if you scan the pages of "Maximum Rock N' Roll" you'll detect a counter-trend, "homocore". The Frogs might be part of this reactive consciousness. But their music isn't thrash. Rather, they belong to that pygmie underworld of low-fi recording and bedsit eccentricity that includes Eugene Chadbourne, Daniel Johnston, Jad Fair and Jandek. Legend has it that The Frogs are housebound, dying lovers, whose incontinent creative issue is some 100 songs a week (or is it a day?)<br&> <br&> The 14 fevered songs on "It's Only Right And Natural" lie somewhere between the neurotic folk-bleat of early Bowie and Willie Nelson's rocking chair country-blues. "I've Got Drugs (Out Of The Mist)" is like nothing so much as "Space Oddity", with its mannered, acoustic grandiosity, distant scrabble of "Heroes" guitar, and drivel of synthesiser blips. Throughout, wholesome, organic settings frame a febrile stream-of-consciousness of graphic reveries, a Genet-style fantasia of "juicy asses" and oiled, hard young flesh. "These Are The Finest Queen Boys" adds a whole new dimension to Roy Harper's "Stormcock": "What will we do later when the butter runs out... here comes the watermelon seed up my snoot-snout... I'll put it through your eye socket, young man... I even prefer them to my regular brand of sheep".<br&> <br&> "Baby Greaser George" ("he took off with my left ball") is Tyrannasaurus Rex meets the diaries of Joe Orton. Only a couple of songs stray from the flesh-fixation: "Gather Round For Saviour #2" seems to be about the woes of being the Messiah, set to a backing not many moons from The Band's "Whisperin' Pines". But it's the triple X rated anthems that are the most hilarious and queerly affecting: "Hot Cock Annie" ("she's the one with cock and vagina combined") "Dykes Are We", "Someone's Pinning Me To The Ground", and above all the deliciously mannered delirium and almost AOR grandeur of "Men (Come On Men)". "If you're a man/Come over here/Woman clear out/No f***n'doubt". Hysterical, but very far from a joke (those pastoral settings really are extremely listenable). The latest turn on US hardcore's catastrophic authenticity.<br&> <br&> Simon Reynolds