DE JA BLUES - The Pink Fits (Off the Hip)
If it's more powerpop-ish, it's only by degrees. Wollongong's Pink Fits still kick up a helluva racket on their second full-length for Off the Hip, and do it in a way that will please glued-on fans and win fresh support.
Like the EP that prefigured it, this is a progression in the series. For sure there's less noise for noise's sake, but it's been replaced by a bristling intensity that's at the heart of almost every song with Michelle Dilevski's uncluttered production spot-on. Occasional colouring (like Karl Webber's blues harp on the title track) and a bucketload of hooks (especially the catchy "Got Nothing On") shine through again.
Singing along to the chorus in "Lex in B" ("Days go by but you're still an asshole") is mandatory. Just be careful doing it on the train wearing your iPod.
The Pink Fits don't anything different to a whole bunch of four-piece, fuzz-tinged guitar bands - they just do it markedly better. They're the place where frantic rhythms and infectiousness meet, and if they occasionally slide right off the rails with the odd sonic experiment like the wired (and weird) instro "Beefheart" it's a badge of honour. Unscrewing the hinges is usually a good thing.
"Got Nothing On", "Lex In B", "I'm On The Red", "Moon Runner" and even "De Ja Blues" show pop roots but they're wrapped in enough rock and roll that the retards running most radio stations won't countenance playing them. We know those people deserve to be shot with a ball of their own shit so let's just move on.
Did you ever wonder why six of 13 songs on an album had people's names in the titles? Me neither until now.
There are dashes of lap steel and occasional keyboards throughout the album. "Country Stooge" throws in the odd country lick but just when you think you have The Pink Fits figured they pull out a bona fide somnolent country rocker called "Like Holly Would" to shut things down. Ex-Love Addicts and X member Kim Volkman gets to contribute lap steel on that one and the whole thing feels like an acid trip in a late closing truckstop on the outskirts of Nashville. - The Barman
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SUPER MINI ALBUM - The Pink Fits (Off the Hip)
Discount the rumours that Wollongong's Pink Fits had substantially cleaned up their sound and struck out on a commercial path. The difference between this record and what's gone before is that they probably propped their van in a two-hour zone outside the studio while they laid down the tracks instead of double-parking for 20 minutes and taking turns to watch for traffic wardens.
"Super Mini Album" isn't as artfully noisy as "Fuzzyard Gravebox" but the '60s hooks that are evident from their live show shine through with a lot more clarity and punch. For mine, that's a good thing and something that can only spread their appeal.
Brevity is this band's strong point. If you didn't like one song you could relax because there was another one coming along in a minute (unlike Sydney busses.) The Pink Fits spit out half-a-dozen cuts this time in less time than it takes a Wollongong town planner to blow a crooked developer. In the case of the EP, you'll be left wanting more. I'm not so sure about the developer.
Best song? They're all keepers but I love the engine room hustle and bustle of "Ol Turkey". It's hard to fault the hook in "Maybe Tomorrow" except to suggest it's buried a little deep. (That almost became another town council sex scandal reference.) "2 Months" is almost understated by Pink Fits standards but it's another pointer to the more measured approach not detracting from the energy levels while letting the melody show through.
Not sure if it's Lenny Curley or Karl Webber reeling out that taught and crunchy lead break on "Pink Fit" but it fairly leaps out and grabs you by the throat.
You don't need a Commission of Inquiry to know there's something very special going on here. Bring on the next album. - The Barman
FUZZYARD GRAVEBOX – The Pink Fits (Off the Hip)
A recent live review of these guys raised the hackles of a fellow punter who gently chided that my description of Lenny Curley’s guitar work as “angular” was tarring them with a post-punk brush. For the record, I just think their sounds are more fractured than a porcelain bedpan that’s been the target of a pissing contest between Superman and the Incredible Hulk, but if I had anyone thinking The Pink Fits were The Fall crossed with Wire, then please accept my profuse apologia. The world of The Pink Fits is (once smoky) pubs with sticky carpets, populated by gnarly red-eyed patrons with damaged ears.
The shit on “Fuzzyard Gravebox” is as acrid as a roll-your-own that’s been stubbed out on a pensioner’s piss-soaked doona, only much more combustible. These 11 tracks are less songs than unruly explosions of guitar glop, modulated by frantic rhythms, quavering vocals and spit-ridden wheezes of occasional harmonica. Shades of a steroid-assisted Beefheart abound in the stop-start rhythms, but The Pink Fits also rock in the most direct way and thus avoid the often odious label of “avant garde”.
Some bands fall over themselves to prove their cred by bragging about how quickly they recorded an album, and others just get on and do it. Spitting out an LP in less time than it takes Britney Spears to get through the whole engagement-marriage-divorce cycle isn’t necessarily a plus if your band members can’t focus long enough to put a string on a guitar. The ”Fuzzyard Gravebox” liners proudly put the labour period at just four hours and it’s A Good Thing in this case ‘cos The Pink Fits have honed what they do with plenty of live work. You’d have to ask if producer Brent Williams had enough time to make his first coffee and settle into the comfy chair before the Fits were done and dusted out and down the pub, but the output is proof positive of spontaneity’s upside when practised by the right practitioners.
Live, The Pink Fits might look like a cohort of sensibly-dressed call centre staff on halftime smoko break but there’s no denying their ability to kick the shit out of a sleeping street person when they get behind a microphone. Which is a neat segue into the opening track, “Man With No Name”, which sounds like the Missing Links on bad meth. Rude, crude and just right, its roots are planted in early R & B soil but it’s dirt that’s been poisoned by the territorial pissing of hounds from hell.
The instrumental “Angel Eyes” is clattering guitar skronk anchored by murderous rhythms. “Tuco” is another calmer instro that shuts down the show. The lyrics are sometimes incidental anyway, but hold up on their own amid all the squall. Scholars can absorb them from the liners, as well as via aural osmosis.
I’ve been on a song title trip lately and “Whistling Disco” now figures pretty highly. Lives up to its cleverness, too, in its own quiet way, and sits as a sea of relative calm in the middle of a stormy sea. Then “Why (Don’t Ask)” stutters out of the speakers and you’re back in edgy territory, coming on like the Lipstick Killers’ version of the Detroit Wheels’ “Sock It To Me Baby”. That one apart, “Hesitating” is probably the most overtly ‘60-ish one with rolling snare and a relentless guitar figure. I like it and so should you.
The geography will mean nothing to anyone outside Australia but it’s appropriate that a Wollongong band like The Pink Fits has ended up on Off the Hip, the busiest label in the business whose hometown (Melbourne) is the country’s rockingest city. I don’t know if Spooky, Dropkick or Art School Dropout were in the running but they’re all from the southern capital. Proof that all roads lead there, even if its weather sucks. - The Barman
EMERGENCY RELEASE - The Pink Fits (independent)
If an EP is the musical equivalent of clearing your throat and an album the act of bursting into full song, "Emergency Release" is The Pink Fits releasing a loud, lingering and disgustingly smelly burp. God knows what they had to eat but you just know it's on its way back up - and the chunks aren't going to look pretty.
The Pink Fits hail from Wollongong, formerly a steelworks city about 90 minutes south of Sydney but now a busy commercial centre with a million other things going on. Can't tell you much about these Fits as information is thin on the ground, except folks who've been exposed to their paint-peeling sonic attack live rate them highly. Oh, and their ranks include Lenny Curley, former guitar player for '90s stone-grunge rockers Tumbleweed.
"Emergency Release" starts with the sound of static and someone twiddling a radio dial. There's a brief taste of drums before an enormous, filthy guitar kicks in. Talk about 'don't touch that dial'. It's just about all over before it begins but "It's OK" is the 1min52sec aural equivalent of having your teeth kicked in by a Collegians Leagues Club bouncer.
"Full Moon High" is pretty much your stock standard creeping blues - played by a bunch of creeps. "Baby Dolle" is overdriven to the point where it could shut down most of the electrical appliances in your neighborhood, if played at extreme volume. "100 Robots" is merely terrific and shows that there isn't a vocalist with a hint of self respect in this band and and it matters nought.
The closing "Same Ol' Shit" is a drunken shuffle that takes on the same shambolic intensity and loose dynamics as the early Beasts of Bourbon before being cut up mid-song and tossed away like a headless, fingerless murder victim being flung off the Mt Ousley lookout. (If you think I made that part up, do some research on bizarre murders in Wollongong in the 1980s and get back to me).
Mighty debut and hopefully a taster of a long-player to come. Drop the band a line and see if you can persuade one of these undoubtedly homicidal maniacs to part with a copy in return for nude pictures of your sister.– The Barman
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