Saturday, December 23, 2006

Spacemen 3 - Playing With Fire

I like this band a whole lot. Sometimes they played like a dreamy drug trip of marijuana leaves, and and sometimes they crushed you with blocks of distortion. On The Perfect Prescription, there were many slow, druggy moments with awesome sissy guitar tone and amateurish blues scale climbing ("Ode To Street Hassle," "Call The Doctor," you know what I'm saying), in addition to ballsy rockers ("Things Will Never Be The Same," "Take Me To The Other Side," "Dope Nose.") They took you on a magical journey through the highs and lows of a psychedelic drug trip party fiesta.

Thing was, see, that shit like "Walkin' With Jesus" and "Come Down Easy" were the poppiest flippin' things the Spacemen Threes ever pulled out of their (FUCKING GODLY) asses! Even the nine minute Red Krayola cover is catchier than Gilbert Gottfried's guest appearance on Muppets Tonight.

Playing With Fire, on the other hand, is a completely different story. See, Prescription presented the perfect balance between Jason Pierce's dreams of holy negro gospel, and Sonic Boom's dreams for a noisy, psychedelicious future. Here, that balance is being disturbed greatly! The noisy moments ("Revolution," "Suicide") are REALLY NOISY and REALLY LONG (well, "Revolution" is only five or six minutes, but that's fairly epic in today's world of Short Music For Short People featuring NOFX, Less Than Jake, Mad Caddies, Lagwagon, and 97 more of your favorite punk rock revolutionaries), and Jason's lordy Jesus jams ("Come Down Softly To My Soul," "Lord Can You Hear Me?," "So Hot (Wash Away All of My Tears") are nowhere near as catchy as "Walkin' With Jesus." And that's to say nothing of Sonic Boom's not-very-noisy-but-still-really-minimal-and-droney quiet numbers.

The dudes were really starting to separate at this point, so you get all of your favorite aspects of Spacemen 3 taken to their absolute extremes. You might think that this is the most balanced Spacemen 3 album because of that, but you're obviously wrong. Here, you can clearly see where each guy is coming from musically, whereas on the one before this one, they're really working together to bring the psychedelic good times. So that one was more song-based, whereas this one is a more minimal, dronier affair. I guess. It's still pretty good, but at heart, I'm a song guy. As much as I enjoy "How Does It Feel?" and "I Believe It," they really don't do it for me the way "Transparent Radiation" and "Walkin' With Jesus" do. It's like why I prefer Goat to Liar; the latter may be the best representation of what the Jesus Lizard was all about, but the former is simply the best set of songs they ever managed to put together. Same goes for The Perfect Prescription and Playing With The Arcade Fire. In that order, too.

Rating: Do like noise, doom metal, microhouse, and krautrock? If you answered "yes" to the question, then you've probably already heard this album! So suck me off. Do you like indie rock and post-punk and 60s summer of love psychedelic boner jams? Then get Perfect Prescription immediately. Maybe hold off on this one. If you're into the dronier side of music, then you need Playing With Fire in your collection. If you're not quite there yet, then get the other one. Great band!

Song: "Revolution"... it's a shit!


Joe said...

I hate the Mad Caddies.

Marcia said...

Hold on a second, i smell burning...
good album. good review. kudos.

Roger_Daltree said...

Man, I just listened to this album! It's all about live Suicide on repeat.