Thursday, January 27, 2011
SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK - FLAUNT IT
'In the next few years 'Flaunt It' will be re-evaluated by the music press and by the time they are done with it the album will be heralded as one of the greatest records of the 80s'.
To those under the impression that SSS were merely misguided teen-friendly electro-pop the above probably sounds like the talk of an utter fuck-puddle. But let me try and qualify my opening statement by furnishing you with some perspective: B.A.D (Big Audio Dynamite), that comedy project that your man from The Clash started with Don Letts is already being re-assesed. Apparently they were something new, fresh and dangerous, they fused 'hip-hop' beats with punk guitar chops. It seems to have escaped peoples attention that they did this very badly and that despite their multi-cultural barrier breaking facade they were harder to listen to than a dog turd with a pair of white ipod headphones dangling from it.
Add to this the fact that the dreary and bland idiot-hop of De La Soul is already being hailed in a similar manner, is it really that improbable?
I should probably clarify the above mark so that it doesn't come across as a lazy snipe. There was nothing exceptional about De La Soul, they have a sound like a hairdryer set on low accompanied by a drum machine made out of marshmallows. They were so fucking boring that '3 Feet High and Rising' could have been prescribed as a cure for insomnia.
The same however cannot be said for this Sony TV-glasses assisted glimpse into the future of music. 'Flaunt It' is still as exciting today as it was when I had a BASF cassette copy playing on my Walkman as I sat sulking in the back of the car on the way to visit my Grandparents.
Musically it's Elvis meets Suicide. Jet-fueled hi-tech Blade Runner inspired party music sung by a guy with three foot hair and a fishnet stocking on his face. What is not to like? I mean we are talking about the band who (at this stage) refused to be photographed unless it was at night, the band whose opening gambit was to blow up a helicopter in the video for their first single as they posed with an arsenal of automatic weapons.
So why the cultural cold shoulder?
It's obvious, they were aimed at the Smash Hits and No1 magazine readership, I even recall individual band member posters complete with profiles coming with one particular title. They were set on world domination from the get go, none of this standing in the shadows and waiting to be discovered business... And that's why WIRE magazine feature endless pean's to Martin Rev and not Martin Degville. Sigue Sigue Sputnik had already sold out before the second this album hit the shelves: The space between songs is used to advertise hair gel and style magazines, Tony James wears an Atari t-shirt. Unlike the two quirky New York misfits who got bottled off every time they tried to play CBGBs, SSS placed themselves as a product.
And this is what modern music is missing. The kids of today have those fucking retards The Arctic Monkeys et-al singing about drinking cheap cider and fingering the girl from the chippy when what they need is tight leather pants, fur coats, film samples and guitar's shaped like laser guns. It is quite possible that you have the cure for the inner-city stab-a-thons right here: Turn the rude boys and wanna be gangsta's on to this business and they'll be comparing lip-gloss and collections of vintage Japanese electronica rather than leaving each other to bleed to death in train stations.
If that sounds too much like fun, you can take off the high-heels, scrape away the eyeliner, wash out the pink hair dye and you are still left with a very solid collection of listenable songs. 'Love Missile F1-11', '21th Century Boy', 'Sex Bomb Boogie', 'Atari Baby'. Yes there are fillers but nothing to swing the balance or to detract from my opening statement.
I'd love to see this remixed, made even more relevant to 2011. It wouldn't take much, just the eradication of a few 'Yello-isms' and the keyboard stabs that sound more at home on the soundtrack to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (That 'comedy' film where he fucks over his best friend), maybe more of an emphasis on the twin drumming and a wash of feedback. But given that's unlikely to happen I'll just have to stick to playing this a lot more than I should, especially when I have pretty much everything Alan Vega and Suicide did right next to it on the shelf.
Anyway, ladies and gentlemen here's to the fifth generation of rock and roll...