Appliances – EP
Oh how I yearn for a DJ night open minded enough to allow me to play this “out”.
The sticker on the shrinkwrap declaring “Punk Funk Rap” sounds like a musical miscarriage of Ozzfest side-stage proportions, but upon dropping the needle on side 1 it becomes rapidly clear the actual musical content of the record eclipses what sounds rather dreadful in concept. This ain’t no Mike Patton bowel movement folks. “Funky” but in a floor-clearingly good way. What lies in these grooves is the synthesis of no-wave and rap that really should have happened in late early 80s New York but for some reason materialized in the Bay Area in the form of the first cut from this 1981 EP. All Ghostbusters metaphors aside, crossing these steams is undoubtedly a dangerous process but here it works somehow. Imagine the vocal delivery of Tina Weymouth in “Wordy Rappinghood” with thrice the conviction and a pinch less lightheartedness over a gloriously disjointed no-wave funk skronk with sprinklings of party clap thrown in mid-song, topped off with brief moments of viciously free form guitar (?) skittering, a horn section stumbling in time to the offbeat rhythm like the JBs after one too many swigs from the backstage booze stash. The lyrics speak in fear of a complex paranoia web involving backstabbing hippies and undercover bums, but let’s not forget the classic bumper-stickeresque observation that “paranoia’s having all the facts”. Indeed.
Sadly the album blows it’s creative load on the first cut and the band spends most of the rest of the EP treading far too deep into 80s house-party band territory, not damaged enough for my taste. The closing track has some interesting guitar scrapings (like a young Pat Place getting real lazy with the slide) over a xylophone-augmented melody but not much beyond that. A one tracker but that one track will certainly clean your clock.
The cover is on point too.
Appliances: “Paranoia Rap”