Why I Hate Women
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2006 album from David Thomas and his Ubu boys, old and new. Pere Ubu have really come out fighting with Why I Hate Women, racing towards all horizons at full tilt, pushing the experimental envelope further than ever, but also tightening up their trademark avant-punk attack. The rhythm section (Ubu's longest serving) of bassist Michele Temple and drummer Steve Mehlman is tauter and leaner than ever before. Robert Wheeler's bravura performance on vintage electronics has him coming over as rural Ohio's answer to Sun Ra, splattering analogue synth and theremin all over the music with wild, visionary abandon. Guitarist (and newest recruit) Keith Molin veers between wayward sonic expressionism and disciplined garage thrust. At the eye of the storm is singer David Thomas, a true rock maverick at the height of his powers. His vocal approach shows a startling new melodicism, a plaintive purity of expression that cuts through his familiar repertoire of radical voicings and techniques. 11 tracks. Smog Veil. 2006.
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On one hand, the first two songs on this record, Two Girls (One Bar) and Babylonian Warehouses, are examples of this band at there fragmented best, encapsulating an isolated sense of decaying images with a disorganized mindset, like that of a fever dream; while Thomas is at the center of it all, delightfully wailing with his distinctive troll, while the music surges through the walls of his signature vocal work, like a sea of broken dreams and shattered fantasies. The third tune, the nearly six-minute trot, Blue Velvet, is where it will begin to group fans into the love it/ hate it circles with its slowed-down bluesy feel. As through this disenchanted contempt for the soulless working man, it demonstrates that when Pere Ubu distills their attack, even if it is still no more mainstream, this steadfast aspect does not correspond to the roots of what brought this Cleveland, Ohio band into the cult spotlight during the 1970's underground punk scene.
Yet, there is still some more here for every old fan to like; the next song, Caroleen, is an incendiary rocker, primed to detonate. This song, with atomic aggression, and stellar side-winding instrumentals, cranks up the dial to get the audience into hyper mode, like a junky in a drug store. Yet once again it moves into a trot with another six minute tune, called "Love Song," and shows that mixing an odd sense of bedazzlement, with trying to sound more "artful" in these six-minute plus low-key songs, rather shatters the quick fix that should be attained.
The album follows this pattern of giving the audience a heartfelt rocker or two, then adds another downer tune. While such songs as the corky and wild Mona, the quick jaunt My Boyfriend's Back, and damn good Texas Overture, mix with the not very filling Stolen Cadillac, and Synth Farm. Though the interplay between guitarist Keith Moline and bassist Michele Temple, is certainly satisfying, especially on the aforementioned Caroleen, the best song on the album, and although the synthesizers by Robery Wheeler, and drummer Steve Mehlman are ample support, the old unit is still wanted, when the music would not seem so manufactured.
When the album stops spinning, "Why I Hate Women" lacks the steady perfections of such past efforts, such as Dub Housing, and Terminal Tower, in this sense that here they seem to somewhat want to be normal, while also trying to be unique; to bad, too, because since a part of them still does not want to sell out to the masses, they come up short in both respects, thus creating something that is rather forgettable.
Grade-- *** (Out of 5)