Thursday, December 9, 2010

Urge Overkill - Now That's The Barclords

UO had some talent, but somehow managed to do everything wrong. These guys went out of their way to present themselves as martini-sipping guys in velvet smoking jackets. As proof, I offer you the actual sleeve for this 7" over there on the left. That might work these days. In 1991? No. It was all about beer and flannel then. No one knew what the hell these guys were doing dressing up like a bunch of douchebags.

They also came across as desperate for big-time success, and they changed their sound a lot chasing it. Cementing that reputation was their Pulp Fiction soundtrack appearance, which featured their cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” exposing them to legions of new fans who wouldn't buy any of their other material, all while alienating whatever fans they had previously earned. They've apparently reunited recently. Hopefully they’re a bit more secure in their own velvet this time around.

This was the May 1991 Sub Pop Singles Club release, issued shortly after I had joined. The vinyl is translucent and the color of yellow highlighter, which is pretty damn cool to look at. I wasn't quite sure what to make of these guys when this showed up on the doorstep. I wanted to like them, because I'd signed up for this thing just a few months earlier and wanted everything to be great. But the velvet suited trio pictured above arrived with Shonen Knife's single, leaving me terribly confused and wondering what the hell I had spent my money on. The music was solid, even if I was left wondering what a Barclord was. This is somewhere between their earlier noise-rock days and their later descent into Neil Diamond covers, and you can hear it in the music. Straight up bombastic arena-rock but with trebly noise-rock guitars. If they'd stuck to that, they might have had something. I did like the B-side quite a bit, and after a few listens, still do. Ironically enough, it's about the demise of vinyl. People have been bitching about it for 20 years now! Vinyl has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in the last couple of years, but here I am, converting this to MP3. What's this generation coming to, indeed.

A: Now That's The Barclords
B: What's This Generation Coming To?

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