Mclusky Do Dallas
By: Eric Greenwood
What year is it again? 2002. Hrm. Looks like Mclusky missed the Chicago noise rock boat by about a decade, but they're English, so it's ok, right? Rudeness and shock value have little effect these days unless you're a white rapper with a nasal problem and a proclivity to use the word "faggot" in the most uncreative ways imaginable. Go figure. In a musical climate where even Marilyn Manson can't get arrested anymore, it's got to be tough to break out using a snotty punk rock schtick that the Sex Pistols ran into the ground over twenty-five years ago.
From the start it's obvious that Mclusky takes most of its cues from The Jesus Lizard with more than a little Pixies thrown into its two-minute-forty-five-second throat shredders. And by throat-shredders I mean barking, aching, atonal shrieks that sound like multiple animals being tortured with hot pokers. Appropriately, Steve Albini produced this brief yet relentless collection of noisy, retroactive punk, and his presence is known immediately by the thunderous boom of the drums, the similarity to the Pixies notwithstanding.
Despite the well-trodden terrain, Mclusky actually delivers some blistering rock that could bring even Amphetamine Reptile fans out of their comas. "Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues" is a musical kamikaze, as Mclusky revives the spirit of David Yow in a wad-blowing assault: "nicotine stained on account of her crutch and I'm aching from fucking too much." The recklessness with which Mclusky attacks each song is somewhat frightening with Andy Falkous' caterwauling screeches locked in step with harsh stop/start dynamics that feel much looser than they are.
Sometimes the relentlessness of Falkous' full-throttle shriek becomes tiresome, especially when it fails to demonstrate the same skill as the people its ripping off. "No New Wave No Fun" is a distorted, schizophrenic mess, but it rocks all the same. Falkous' energy is boundless in its quest for pegging the red line on the soundboard, but his bandmates are right there with him, creating a maelstrom of glorious noise. "Collagen Rock" tips its hat to Black Francis in more ways than one. The skulking, wrong-footed guitar noodling recalls several moments on Doolittle, and Falkous does his best Black Francis-in-paranoid-lunatic-mode vocalization while spouting gems like "you've got a wonderful mouth."
The crux of Mclusky's charm is that it clearly doesn't give a damn, but that's a fairly hackneyed pose considering the long line of apathetic punk rockers that preceded it. What is invigorating is Mclusky's joyous ferocity, which is such a welcome kick in the gut when a sickeningly slick rap-metal sheen seems to be shellacking popular music. And, likewise, Mclusky jabs a bloodstained dagger in the heart of the whiny little bitch that is American punk these days.
From its winking porn title to its raucous, untamed anthems, Mclusky Do Dallas is hard not to like. It's a bully of a record, but the beating is over before you know it. More bands should be like this, so put down that patsy Saves The Day disc and buy this instead.