By: Eric G.
Ignoring the smarmy joke factor inherent to this band, New Wet Kojak manages to overcome its self-imposed limitations with solid songwriting and dynamic playing. Scott McCloud and Johnny Temple from Girls Against Boys lead this quartet down the lounge path with hyper cool riffs and uninhibited skronk noodlings. The self-referential, self-congratulatory persona that McCloud inhabits in New Wet Kojak is slightly over the top but somehow charming all the same. You can’t take him seriously, but you’re not supposed to. On the title track McCloud sounds like Beck’s recently acquired soul-fried womanizing LA party whore character: “Don’t miss sexy fun/now matter where you are/no matter what you done/remind yourself this is the glamorous/this is solid gold.”
You can almost taste the syrup on the microphone when McCloud insists that “punxnotdead/and Marilyn Manson’s not a pussy/he’s a rock God/with a hot bod.” The jazzy subtext hilariously accompanies similarly ridiculous musings. New Wet Kojak tastefully inserts keyboards into its tight, percussive foundation. The arrogance is easy to digest because it’s hard to keep from laughing. “Def Con Soul” is so cheesy that it’s actually pretty despite McCloud’s absurd advice: “if you can’t stay hot/you gotta get cold/and if you wanna play in the world today/you gotta stay ready to explode/you gotta have a def con soul.” The saxophone solo only adds to the cheese factor akin to a bad Men At Work ballad.
New Wet Kojak retains a consistent level of tension throughout Do Things. “Sticky 2 Me” fuses electronics and robotic riffs with McCloud’s half-spoken, affected drawl. The band almost lets go of its cool on “This Is The USA”, where some chugging guitar riffs actually break the surface and the saxophone gets “freaky.” Ballads like “Auto-E” showcase the band’s ability to sound both sincere and comical in the same song. The music has a schizophrenic tone. At one moment it’s simple and serene and the next it lurks in the dark. McCloud’s story of autoeroticism blows the cover, however. The band’s ultra-hip superciliousness supplants the whole smoky bar scene image, but it’s worth being talked down to just to hear Scott McCloud’s rambling cliches.
Bands like Cake and Soul Coughing are half-baked versions of what New Wet Kojak does a thousand times better, so stop supporting those crappy bands and listen to Do Things instead.