|Faster Pussycat - 'The Power & The Glory Hole' European Edition (City Of Lights Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Friday, 22 February 2013 03:00|
Finally licensed for European release, Faster Pussycat's fourth studio album, 'The Power & The Glory Hole', appears as a European Edition six and a half years after its original release. The last studio album from the infamous LA sleaze-meisters to date (2009's live album 'Front Row For The Donkey Show' their last release proper) appears ahead of select European tour dates later in the year with a bonus track - a live version of the album's opening cut, 'Number 1 With A Bullet' - and a history that makes it an essential listen.
Never, in all my years of gig-going, have I seen an adverse audience reaction as vicious as the one that greeted Faster Pussycat's industrial makeovers of their trashy back catalogue favourites. Fans raised on the classic 1987 debut, its more respectable older brother, 1989's 'Wake Me When It's Over', and its slutty sister, 1992's 'Whipped!', quickly resembled an angry mob straight out of Central Casting. I'm all for band's growing and mutating and doing whatever the fuck they want but, honestly, some of those UK shows in the noughties were embarrassing messes.
Taime Downe's attempt at fusing the industrial sounds of The Newlydeads, the band he had formed after Pussycat's initial split, to the glunk of the first album's gutter glam hits failed miserably. 2001's 'Between The Valley Of The Ultra Pussy', an album of industrial remixes of choice cuts from FP's back catalogue, hardly set the world on fire. Penning a whole new set of tunes that tried to mix up both sounds worked surprisingly well, however, as proven by 'The Power & The Glory Hole'.
I liked this fourth album upon release, a stepbrother to the first three albums it has to be said, and now, with the dust settled, listening to this reissue it's hard to dislike the album. Littered with attitude, guest stars and a rich, dark vein of under-the-counter sleaze more accustomed to the perversity of life than men with bandanas, it's hard not to bend down and take all that's offered at this glory hole.
Opener 'Number 1 With A Bullet' spat in the face of convention and showed, helped by Downe's own impressive production skills, that this black-hearted industrial pop smear worked...and worked well. 'Gotta Love It' followed and, again, threw timeless rock 'n' roll lead breaks over dark subtlety. 'Useless', born of chugging guitar and sampled loops, sounds like epic, electronica-fuelled late '80s pop and is a slowburner that is possibly the album's bravest yet most impressive cut. 'Sex Drugs & Rock-N-Roll' amps up the trash - you just knew it from that title, right?! - and ejaculates out of the speakers with a "Hey Ho, Let's Go" refrain and is possibly the finest example of the post-apocalyptic Faster Pussycat sound that Taime envisaged when he got the band back together, albeit with himself now as the only original member.
'Disintegrate' oozes with a Cult-style spirit, and the bursts of lead guitar over the samples remind me of Sigue Sigue Sputnik at times. The cover of Nancy Sinatra's 'These Boots Were Made For Walking' is unrecognisable at first but, once it settles into its chugging guitar-inspired groove, it works in such a way that any song purists will surely cover their ears and rush out of the room lest they be forever damned by this devil music. Downe's production, with more layers than some of his former bandmates' hair in the '80s, impresses again. 'Hey You', complete with C.C. DeVille guitar solo, ups the sleaze factor with a chorus of female backing vocals, but even that is bound and gagged by the S&Mpressive sounds of 'Porn Star', complete with sex talk from the likes of big breasted adult movie actress Plenty UpTopp (possibly a stage name) and rap-style vocals from Blag The Ripper.
The album's title track is as anthemic as this thing is gonna get; chanted backing vocals wrestle with Saint's cock teasing mouth work, and the guitar slays. The production, more android than analogue, may not be organic but it borders on orgasmic at times.
The album's final tracks are centred around the loss of Betty Blowtorch frontwoman Bianca Butthole (née Halstead) in a car wreck in 2001. 'Shut Up & Fuck' is a cover of the all-girl band's (em)power(ed) ballad from both their 1999 debut 'Get Off' and 2001 full album 'Are You Man Enough?' and a great version it is too. 'Bye Bye Bianca' is a collection of audio messages from friends and fans of Bianca saying goodbye over a bass-heavy slab of industrial glunk fevered with a dreamy chorus. It was/is a fitting tribute and close to the (original) album. Of course, the bonus live track on this Euro release follows, and is a worthwhile extra.
I loved the debut album from Faster Pussycat, loved its follow-ups too. That band ceased to exist a long, long time ago and they are never coming back. I've seen Faster Pussycat live on several occasions since they reformed and, honestly, some of the shows have stunk. Danny Nordahl, a mess of devil horns and narcotics, generally makes attending worthwhile, but I rarely leave satisfied. If they could actually pull off (pun intended) the qualities of 'The Power & The Glory Hole' live then I would, seriously, shut up and fuck because, at times, this album really hits the fucking spot.