Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

!Gross! is the kind of urban-versus-rural aural shit that oozes out of black holes like Kent and Renton (where Pleasureboaters happen to be from). Noisy boys chopping it up in the basement, deeply inhaling the grainy crank — it's all about the torqued bash clipping against the bass warble, avant-garage thrash-on guitar suddenly sputting into wavo inflections and radiation surf licks, spicy pulled up paces near the entropic end of each sausage-song chunk, rhythms and ranting till you're as blue in the face as the sixteen year old in the bathroom, cops being called by neighbors for the third time tonight.

Pleasureboaters do this out where there are pollution-withered trees and multiple miscegenated baby mamas, truck stop speed, and burritos as big as your head. Life's coarse pleasures are too much; laugh as we try to cram it all in, and how are we going to keep affording it on two hundred dollar unemployment checks and under the table housepainting jobs? You're sick of what your girlfriend's money can buy you at the 7-11 anyways. Ricky Claudon's voice is a still not too raspy manly yelp and sort of "Metal Box" all the way through, save for the almost-Pixies melodic "Elliptical Realism" (which if Top 40 was as possibly unpredictable as it was when New Wave first happened, would sound grat introduced by Casey Kasem — "Keep reachin' for the stars!").

This is a continual ranting complaint of debris-littered nothingness; there was once a comic called "Louis Reil" about an apocalyptic revolutionary who was martyred in the liberation of French Canada, and some guy got caught by the military and until he was executed he would keep profanely poking at his jailers till they finally just killed him out of infernal annoyance. A lot of bands tried for that sort of thing in the '90s, but Pleasureboaters give an awful lot of good company with that sputtering protest, driven by warm slinky bass and very excellent time changes that don't jar as much as seduce in peaks of form like "Andalou" and something-like-Flipper "Cigarette Song" (MY *pick hit of the week*, bump). "Cigarette Song" is pure stalking anti-soul, why punk drained white and sick, with its crisp string doodles and dabs. "Dear, I fear my time with you is growing short." Burning up time, as The Stranglers once threatened. "If I was a cigarette I'd burn you," another '80s underground dance hit once translated from the girls' perspective.

!Gross! takes you back to the mysterious chants and destruction of the previous decade's art-emo, but its the bottom end that helps it transcend nostalgia. "Unrivaled Subjectivity" is simply listener-pleasing enough to be a hit, till they make sure it bites the curb like the rest and bring the boot down. Again, "Rockpaperscissors" has that perfect melodic guitar-bass entwinement, suggesting we should "Meet at the Circle K." Then it goes apeshit again. There's definitely a bit more No Wave in this than the average Drive Like Jehu inverted funk. "Cockhair" even sounds like the best The Fall could do around 1981, and more. These three boys are doing their homework, or maybe they just know how to swing, so this isn't the flat noise-rock that certain media slobbers all over that spikes up every couple of years.

Speaking of nothingness (and I was, above there if you'll look), did you know they stored it and moved it last month? They've been working on the nothingness theory pretty hard since at least 2002 but now they caught the little bastard and are pushing it around. Not unlike Pleasureboaters.