Saturday, 6 August 2011

Day 102: Debtors escape estates.

Been away a few days, here's the catch up.

A great one here from Grotesque.



Song: Pay Your Rates
Album: Grotesque (Against The Gramme)
Year: 1980

This album is so full of invention, its odd that it starts with a snotty little ditty like this, but it's still good. Sounding like a hopped-up Ramones, the riff is very 70s punk, but that is firmly blown out of the water with weird keys and some inventive headstock strumming, we need more of this in music, the headstock of a guitar is a very underutilised part of the instrument, manages to sound both un-musical and musical at the same time, very much like when you strum an egg-slicer.

The vocals here waver between angry snotty punk Mark and the breaking-voice antics that appear on a lot of early stuff, think he's cough up his oesophagus these days if he tried it, but it would probably still sound good. Lyrics are repetitive (shock! horror!) but do the job as ever, the frivolity and general mediocrity of paying a bill, transformed into a catchy lyric, excellent work.

I like the reference to Warren Mitchell, for those too young, myself included, he was TV's Alf Garnett, who on the program Til Death Us Do Part in which he sent up the working class stereotype as a thoroughly unpleasant, racist and sexist character. Here, Mark calls him a 'working class traitor' something which is a common criticism levelled at the show, as it was almost seen as cruel class tourism. The idea of shining a light on a lower class for profit is something people are still doing now, see Channel 4 docs, Jeremy Kyle etc for proof.

I do like the laughter in MES's voice on this one, he sounds like he is laughing at the absurdity of his own lyrics, cracking up whilst crooning 'Debtors escape estates' over and over, glad to see he finds it as funny as we all do.

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