When reading a band’s bio, nine times out of ten there’s an “art-school-meets-guitars” moment in there somewhere. The “thing” that brought the band together. But meat and records; that is a new one.
That seems to be the way the menz in Let’s Wrestle bonded. Meat and records, dice and fruit cake, Twinkies and pretzels. It doesn’t matter. What does is the debut release on Merge Records, In The Court Of Wrestling Let’s, out soon after the dust settles from the British invasion at SXSW 2010.
“I’m In Love With Destruction” is a great representation of the sunny and sharp side to Let’s Wrestle, where the vocals and organic harmonies are fresh and bright, like a ride ‘round the merry-go-round, while the vocals push you off into the tanbark where your face grazes a wrapper from the night before, promoting “ribbed for her pleasure.”
Lots of wha-wha guitar and pedal work, rubber band-aided to melancholy lyrics in “My Arms Don’t Bend That Way, Damn It!” doesn’t stop one from bobbing and swaying to the melody with a smile, even as singer and guitarist Wesley Patrick Gonzalez revels in “My friends are in prison/ and I swear I want to go / ‘cause I hate everyone.”
Then there’s “In Dreams” that is, well, dreamy. I picture the band playing on the sand with the warm breezes blowing as the palm trees sway. A couple, eyes locked, dance slowly as the water flows in and bubbles around their bare feet. A hurricane could come through with people screaming and running about, and this man and women (or man and man, or women and women…) wouldn’t notice.
This is also a bass-heavy band that takes is rhythm seriously, taking on the duties of bringing back the pogo dance, especially on the “Tanks” ditty. “Diana’s Hair” is the obvious inspiration for the album’s artwork and title, paying tribute to Princess Diana.
On this track and a few others, there is a vintage slant to the production and recording; a late ‘60s meets early ‘90s Brit-Pop echo and style (Troggs meet The Chords meet Blur). A good thing indeed. As inviting as a pizza of meat and records. And for an appetizer, there are the quaint and quirky interludes.
The single, “I Won’t Lie To You,” bursts with a light show of a New Year’s Eve fireworks display, with a few water balloons thrown in for good measure. It will no doubt get the kids riled up (including this one) at the many SXSW shows (five in all) they have scheduled.
Let’s Wrestle reminds me of why I have been in love with British music since I was a wee one. Believe them when they say, “We Are The Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon.” Bah, bah, bah..bah bah bah…bah bah bah bah.
Mar 15 Brooklyn Vegan show at Knitting Factory Brooklyn, New York
Mar 18 SXSW: Knuckle Rumbler party at Austin Town Hall – 1:45P Austin, Texas
Mar 18 SXSW: Pop Montreal party at Lovejoy’s – 4:15P Austin, Texas
Mar 18 SXSW: Merge Showcase Cedar Street Courtyard – 8:00P Austin, Texas (with Radar Brothers, Wye Oak, Lou Barlow + the missingmen, She & Him, & The Love Language)
Mar 19 SXSW: Ground Control/Urban Outfitters party – 4:00P Austin, Texas
Mar 19 SXSW: Homeslice Pizza Party – 8:00P Austin, Texas
Mar 21 Black Market with Titus Andronicus El Paso, Texas
Mar 22 Chyro Arts With Titus Andronicus Scottsdale, Arizona
Mar 23 Bootleg Theatre with Titus Andronicus Los Angeles, California
Mar 25 SLO Arts Center with Titus Andronicus San Luis Obispo, California
Mar 26 Cellar Door with Titus Andronicus Visalia, California
Mar 27 Fungarden with Titus Andronicus Sacramento, California
Mar 28 Slim’s With Titus Andronicus San Francisco, California
Mar 30 The Vera Project with Titus Andronicus Seattle, Washington
Mar 31 Mississippi Studios with Titus Andronicus Portland, Oregon
Apr 15 Turf Club w/ Quasi St. Paul, Minnesota
Apr 16 Annex w/ Quasi Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 17 Magic Stick w/ Quasi Detroit, Michigan
Apr 18 Horseshoe Tavern w/ Quasi Toronto, Ontario
Apr 19 Il Motore w/ Quasi Montreal, Quebec
Apr 20 Middle East Downstairs w/ Quasi Cambridge, Massachusetts
Apr 22 Bowery Ballroom w/ Quasi New York, New York
Apr 23 JohnnyBrenda’s w/ Quasi Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 24 Back Cat w/ Quasi Washington DC, Washington DC
Apr 26 Cat’s Cradle w/ Quasi Carrboro, North Carolina
Apr 27 529 w/ Quasi Atlanta, Georgia
Apr 28 The Bottletree w/ Quasi Birmingham, Alabama
Apr 29 Mercy Lounge w/ Quasi Nashville, Tennessee
Apr 30 The Southgate House w/ Quasi Newport, Kentucky
May 1 Lincoln Hall w/ Quasi Chicago, Illinois