Sunday, November 5, 2017

Duff Review: The Stiff Joints "First Proper Album"

CD/digital download

(Review by Steve Shafer)

On the surface, the new(ish) First Proper Album from The Stiff Joints is simply incredibly good fun, as the cover image suggests. The band plays amped-up, hook-filled, sing-along-to-the-chorus modern/2 Tone-inspired ska that may remind one of Madness, The Busters, or The Toasters (they must be a blast to see live). However, despite the good-time musical zaniness, the lyrics (full of word-play) reveal that life in The Stiff Joints' version of the world is kind of off-kilter and crappy--and some of the catchiest and most compelling tunes on the album are the darkest. "Mona Lisa"--the sublime, idealized example of Renaissance beauty--is about coming to the realization that it just might be in your own best interest to let your dream girl go. The blistering "Pop A Knocker" (punch a boob?) relates the story of a marriage gone real sour real fast ("Everybody's bringing presents to my wedding because/They are told they have to/As if all these nice pretty things that all my buddies will bring/Will help me love you...Complications have arised/Cannot look you in the eyes/You're a cheating, rotten liar/Breaking us and full of fire/Broken lives and broken dreams/Things are never what they seem...Stick our love right up your bum!"). The positively swinging "Bubble Bubble" is an ode to less painful living through chemistry ("Gotta little something in the palm of my hand/To keep the big bad wolf from coming around (and blowing me down)...Give me a kiss from the sweet angel bliss...I talked to Frankie, he said relax..."), while "Bruno" is about someone completely devoted to drink and drugs and sex in the pursuit of an effortless life (chorus: "I'll do anything/Just as long as I can sit down"). It's a wild ride with The Stiff Joints on First Proper Album (where will you find yourself waking up in the morning?), but completely worth it.

+ + + +

+ + + +

No comments: