Tuesday 6 November 2012

Ace Bushy Striptease - Outside It's Cold Just Like The Inside Of Your Body And'

Album review by KevW

You hear a lot about "DIY" pop, like it's some holy grail of authenticity and anything that comes within an inch of professionalism should be discarded as being manufactured pap. But records should always be made how the band want them to be, whether DIY or in a posh studio with a big name producer. The DIY tag is misused as a badge of honour, bands engineer their records to sound more lo-fi and credible, meaning many of them are no different from major label stadium pomp in authenticity. Some ready-made shelves bought from B&Q that you just screw to the wall doesn't really constitute DIY. Cobbling together some shelves from some old planks you found in the shed and banging them into the plasterboard with a couple of rusty nails, hoping that they'll somehow defy gravity; that's proper DIY, and that's how Birmingham collective Ace Bushy Striptease approach making music.

It's exactly this spirit that makes 'Outside It's Cold Just Like The Inside Of Your Body And' such a thrilling listen; you don't know what's coming next, anything could happen, the wheels could come off the thing at any given moment. There's indiepop blood coursing through the veins of this record, if you can imagine Los Campesinos! meeting up after not playing together for a couple of years, getting shit-faced and then deciding to rattle through some of their old tunes then you're not far of capturing the spirit of Ace Bushy Striptease. Some songs are seemingly devoid of structure or any particular plan, as if they just launch headlong into the abyss and hope for the best. The jammy buggers pull it off too, whether it's the buzzy guitar and hectic spoken-word beginning to 'Avoid Steel Girders In The Autumn (Ernest Pudding Takes A Bath)' or the angry and shambolic, possessed clatter of 'Where Are We Gonna Go Unloved', it's a total roller coaster, and one that would never pass a health and safety test.

The album is a maelstrom of voices, shouting, screaming, whispering, coming at you from every angle, and should you find a song you don't like, fear not, another one will be along in a few seconds. If you want a criticism then you could say it's all a bit studenty, but the band were students when they formed. It's difficult to knock songs with this much life in them though, and tracks like 'Death By Autofill' and 'My Hand Could Be Yr Wife' are wonderful pop tunes which are a little less rickety than some of the jittery improvisation of, say, 'Laura Street's Ahead', an a capella song consisting of nothing more than shouting and clapping (it's great by the way). 'More Parts Per Milijas' manages to use mediocre football skills as a metaphor for being a pretty crap boyfriend, it also pushes boundaries time-wise, clocking in at a relatively epic 2:34. Ace Busy Striptease are clearly suffering from a severe case of musical ADHD and this helps make this album so engaging. By the end your brain hurts, but in a good way.

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