McLusky Set To 'Bring On The Big Guitars' Again
Three Welsh men walk into a studio with engineer-to-the-indie-rock-stars Steve Albini and come out the other side with Do Dallas, one of the most energized slabs of rock music heard in recent times. The lyrics spit venom over music that's surely set to soundtrack a street-fighting scene in a movie one day soon. And as if that wasn't enough, in the middle of the record, they scream "bring on the big guitars," making everyone question how the hell you make a guitar sound any bigger than they already do on these songs.
This is a precision rock group, folks McLusky hit their material with a fire that has caused them to be compared to other foundation-shaking arse-kickers including The Pixies and the Jesus Lizard. They are three drinking-and-smoking men, cramming themselves into unreliable vans, touring the globe and releasing albums on independent labels.
They recently toured Australia, gracing the stage of Victoria's vaunted, grand Meredith Music Festival, making the hills come alive with the agitated sounds of men thrashing about on the weapons of rock 'n' roll, drawing on the ancestral force of 500 Welsh male choirs.
They completed the tour with a new drummer, Jack Eggleston, after kicking out Matt Harding, drummer on the Do Dallas recordings. And, according to Andy Falkous, singer, guitarist and word-spitting interviewee, things have been revitalized by the shake-up.
"The whole new drummer deal is absolutely cocking fantastic. Let's make this absolutely clear it was a sacking, and I only regret that we put off the inevitable for so long," Falkous said.
"Jack, all 22 years of him, is 98 per cent up to standard on the old stuff thus far, a sincere and sweet guy, and despite a drum kit which can only be described as a total piece of shit, the writing is going so prolifically well that we have become a real fucking band once more, which is such a great feeling that I can't really describe it without blushing. He's a little less complex but more inventive in my estimation, but the key differences are enthusiasm and the innate knowledge that sometimes the essential element is the stuff you leave out rather than crowbar in.
"To summarize, I've heard talk of 'you/they/it won't be the same band!' Absolutely. Really now, that was the whole point."
And after some disappointing sessions prior to acquiring this new drummer boy, they'll be hitting strings and skins in Albini's midst again soon, treading all over the annoyances of those previous, failed sessions.
"We're back in Chicago immediately following the Aussie dates to finish up and emphatically bury those sad memories. The new material isn't quite as straightforward, but the same basic principles apply plug in, play, stick some muttering over the top, go to bed."
As is suggested by their teaming with Albini again, the band is pleased with the sounds he extracted from their amps and vocal cords and drums last time 'round. "The record was a total joy and an utter piece of piss to record from first to last, which I think is how it comes across," Falkous said. "However, I'm more taken in a sonic sense with the po-faced Luddite clarity of the whole enterprise, rather than any cloaking walls of distortion."
As recent audiences will have noted, the new material has a slightly different texture from that of Do Dallas and, tactility aside, the new tracks are more powerful (somehow), more dynamic and even more dementedly catchy. While he told me of the things McLusky were going to have the pleasure of assaulting listeners with on the next record, it was clear that Falkous was aching to get down and dirty (so to speak) with Albini again.
"Slide guitar, 'orribly distorted acoustics, tunings straight from a guitar-tech's worst nightmares, imitation gongs, accidental lyrical profundity, more hidden handclaps (one on every album), bipolar bears, a song called 'Kkkitchens, What Were You Thinking?' (based on a true story) and another called 'Reformed Arsonist Seeks Child Bride.' There will be a school of thought amongst idiots that the new stuff doesn't have the same intensity as Do Dallas; these people deserve their haircuts, balls, and our utter contempt."
But, as Falkous said in response to another question (now taken completely out of context, but remaining appropriate here): "You can't teach taste to morons." Ben Gook [Friday, February 6, 2004]