The Porn Issue - My Disguise
Owain Paciuszko 17/02/2011
Starting with a slow groove so laidback it's practically horizontal, opening track Raucous Groove seems at odds with its title, that is until it actually kicks into gear and turns into a case of 'exactly what it says on the tin', moving from car chase wah-wah into more typically scattershot rock vibes. Divided up into halves by snatches of dialogue, it thunders towards a giddy conclusion.
It's a shame then when Puapers Melody opens with a drawled vocal like the lovechild of Jarvis Cocker and Lemmy, it's a strange mix with the band's instrumentation which still rattles on like a funk-rock action movie and the contrast makes for a listen of fits and starts rather than interesting counterpoints. Similarly USE works as a grimy little dirge, stumbling around its downbeat riffs, but Daz Gossage's lead vocal slaps the chops like a wet fish on the verses, too high and clean in the mix, and his delivery might work better if he pulls it back rather than pushes forward as if he were Chris Cornell. The choruses fair better, but it's the when the track sticks to instrumentation that it works best on record.
The closing title track of this EP opens with the strangely reassuring sound of rainfall and distant thunder, a gentle guitar line creeps in with Leo Pulvirenti's bass burbling softly in the background whilst Lee Epplestone taps out a pleasingly mournful rhythm, and Gossage's vocal softly enters from stage right solemn and complementing the sweeter instrumentation well; that is until the chorus which ramps everything up into cookie cutter rock anthem territory where guitars wail, drums crash and Gossage screeches. It's a disappointing and unrewarding shift, and when the song drops back down to the next verse it's with a sigh of relief.
We return to the rainfall for a minute before a rapid guitar noise enters and Pulvirenti's bass begins playing a dreamy melody that's soon accompanied by the guitar chiming alongside, sadly Gossage's vocal suffers from earlier pitfalls, abrasive in the mix and sneering like a sullen, sozzled Elvis Costello. The refrains of 'Na na, nana' lend a nice carefree apathy to the tune, but are tossed casually aside when they could heft the song onto their shoulders and carry you out on a belated high.
This is a rough and raggedy EP in some respects and all the better for it, but other aspects feel strangely clean and clinical and the mix of these seems wrong. There's fun to be had, but the balance of the music and the vocals needs to be addressed; it's not that Gossage isn't right, but there's a sense that his voice is aiming for a target that the rest of the music isn't, and if he played the glib card in his delivery he'd work better within the context of the songs.