The word ‘CARNIVAL’ has its roots in the eating of flesh.
The derivation is from hungrily gnawed bones, guzzled cartilage and flapping skin (think ‘Carnivore’.)
The word brings to mind cadavers and murderous ravaging. Or so it should! Carnival should bring a chill to the bone.
In this respect, the title of the new album by UK’s Bad For Lazarus – “Life’s A Carnival, Bang! Bang! Bang!” makes perfect sense.
The period of Carnival was designed to replace the primordial festivals of the god Saturn.
At this dark time of the year he demanded human victims – sacrifices.
This probably explains the masks, the gift-giving, the liberation, the continual partying and the spontaneous celebration of a bounteous earth.
We celebrate Carnival because we are lucky to still be alive. We are happy because we haven’t been chosen as a victim. Yet. It is a grotesque party.
So, as you can imagine, this new album from Bad For Lazarus is properly deviant.
To be released July 28th 2014 [1234 Records] we had an early listen:
“Tos And Fros” begins with badly squeezed acidic sounding guitars.
Disorderly drums plod around like dinosaurs in slippers.
The vocal is inflamed, hot and cunningly incisive.
The song requires your attention. The whole piece sizzles like a pig-fat burning effigy.
“Caught In The Twist” begins with a series of rude shrill squeaks – the percussion is a mix of bones and sausages.
The voice is high and well mannered. It pontificates around, and places itself above the huddled masses of sound below. Appearing both proud and condescending.
At heart, though, this is a rockabilly boogie-woogie number. With that promised twist.
Waltzing ‘My Muddle’ slides and glides. And ‘No Cigar’ is a little plinky-plonky. A tiny bit bit sci-fi. Intelligent and revolutionary.
‘Disco Biscuits (For Breakfast)‘ is a bit of a departure from the other tracks. The candy-wrapper sweetness unfolds. To reveal a thread of textures and flaky pip-squeak rhythms.
“Bad Stallion” is glam and stardusty. With huge chunks of whammy vibrato – big enough to fill the Albert Hall – this is set up like an overwhelming Duane Eddy barn stormer.
The vocal bounces around like an extra -terrestrial squash-ball.
It‘s like Bowie’s “Velvet Goldmine” – swept away by the Surfaris.
It’s a gleaming mix of cheering androgynous glitz and hot rod shininess.
“7 Minute Itch” features the vocals of Leila Moss from The Duke Spirit. It is is smoky and asphyxiating.
It has a thick bar-room mugginess to it.
But the rattle of the rhythm and the sleazy attitude will keep you awake at night. And that chorus is insidious. It creeps into your brain. It will not let go.
‘Old Rats On A New Ship’ is another wonderfully crafted creation. Something that would not be out of place on stage – with Bowie – in his Stardust days.
Brimming with face-stars, sequins and silvery streaks in the hair. It is a thing of bouffant beauty. A plump, parading pompadour of punchy quiffs and duck-tailed stickiness.
This is one of our favourite tracks on the album.
“D For Conversation” seems to be about boredom at parties. It is a speed loaded rocker and all-round fizzer. ‘The Twenty Four’ feels like a continuation of the same party. But this time, the clothes are strewn out – onto the floor. The shoes are off. And we have all fallen – in a messy heap – into the bathroom.
Which, perhaps, explains why it sounds like it was recorded in an abandoned aquatic centre.
‘Billiards’ reminds us of “The Bewlay Brothers” (Hunky Dory – 1971) It has the same sense of dread.
A schizophrenic tendency to be happy and drunkenly hugging at you one minute – but then dangerously violent the next. This is one to watch.
Or it will stab you in the neck without a second thought.
The slightly undulating – drunk – rhythm lurches from side to side. And the gnome-like voice is accompanied by spattering, dangerously licking guitars.
This track builds and builds – until we reach a climax of disaster. It is a tragedy just waiting to happen.
This is a carnival of a life … BANG! BANG! BANG!
It’s a Feast for Fools.
Passionate, decadent. As sweet as sugar rock. And as frothy as a bottle of hastily sabred Veuve Clicquot.
This needs to be played at maximum volume to be fully appreciated. Incredible!
@neilmach © 2014
All live photos by © Neil Mach