Share BAD ALL OVER - Caroline and the Treats (House of Rock Records)
There is much that can be said for functional illiteracy in the world of rock and roll.  Sticking to a sub-Orwellian word count certainly helped the careers of everyone from Little Richard to the Stooges and on to the Ramones.  In more recent times, it has also helped Scandinavian Rock and Rollers find a place in our hearts.  It is to a large extent that English-as-a-second-language inability to express the big idea that makes the Hives and the Raveonettes such appealing concepts.  They speak to us in banner headline clichés.  If they hate something, they come right out and say it without guile or second guessing.  If they want to fuck, they tell us they want to fuck.

Which brings us to Caroline and the Treats.  Fourteen minimalist gems in a punk rock style in which the titular Caroline (how’s that for a bit of the old double entendre?) tells us she wants to fuck.  She tells us she’s a very bad girl and she wants to fuck.  (Ripping off the Dave Clarke Five she tells us she is, in fact, bad all over and - you guessed it – she wants to fuck.)  She tells us if we wine and dine her then tonight’s our lucky night.  She makes no bones about it.  She’s a bit of a trollop is Caroline.  It’s all a bit Descartes when you think about it.  She fucks therefore she am.   Fortunately, she is a Scandinavian trollop and there is every chance we’ll forgive her because of that.  (We’ll just assume this is some kind of art school Scandinavian joke; a Nordic version of the myth of the dumbness of the Ramones.)

A lot of ripped off riffs and stolen Medley lines went into the production of this record.  Caroline and the Treats will probably tell you this is very post modern.  For the most part, it works too (in a children of a lesser Transvision Vamp kind of a way).  The influences are so obvious it is both painful and wonderful at the same time.  You know the chord changes on the 14th song before the first one is finished.  It’s all there; pop, punk, glam, '60ss, '50s.  The singing’s not great but it is wildly enthusiastic and frantic.  On the band front, everything pumps along just about right.  There are no fancy solos and the minor chords have all taken vacations.  As with most modern albums, it has about two too many songs for its own good but these days even minimalists have trouble with the concept of “less is more”.

But here is the bottom line.  This is an enjoyable little album.  If you look at the cover, you’ll know exactly what you are letting yourself in for and will react accordingly.  (If you are still in any doubt, check the back cover.)  Musically, it’s nothing new but you’d jump up and down like a maniac if they played in your town.  The thing for you, the potential record buying public, to know is this; if I hadn’t got a review copy of this, I would have bought it.  It’s true, I wouldn’t play it every week but some of it would find its way onto my iPod.  If they come to my town, I’m going.  A good band but not a great band (yet).  A very good album but not quite a great one.  I’ll keep my ear out for the next.- Bob Short

 

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