Mickey Gloss - The Indelible Ballad Of The Tainted Fur

Owain Paciuszko 31/08/2010

Rating: 4/5

After a mysterious swell of noise we enter the first track proper, and Life of Promise is a delicious slab of fuzzy guitars, fat drumming and sneered vocals, somewhere between Depeche Mode at their most angsty and INXS under the weather. Crocodile Smile is reminiscent of Plastic Fang-era Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, all bluesy guitars and swamp-rock rhythms as Gloss' voice trembles like Nick Cave on a vibrating platform. It all sort of collapses in on itself, but for a while there is a damn fine slice of sleazy rock.

Things take a turn for the weird on the reverse instrumentation, underwater gurgling and spoken word of minute-long The Desert Knew My Name, before the opening guitar of Life Is Just A Trip brings Blue Oyster Cult to mind. Once the track gets going Gloss' voice takes on a weary-squeal over the eerie instrumentation, like Danielson guest-hosting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Abstract lyrics float in and out over the rusty-industrial ghost factory soundtrack of this six-minute centrepiece, which aptly moves towards its finale with Gloss screaming in a fever; "Life is just a trip man, and you're only passing through!"

Following that the tribal jump of Touch My Soul feels chart-friendly, it's a cheeky little rocker switching between half-spoken verses and yelped choruses. It's undeniably fun and short enough not to overstay its welcome, a la The Pixies Tony's Theme. Cheesy futuristic synths shimmer in the background of Don't Be A Jealous Girl which brings Gloss as close as he can probably get to an act like U2, all twinkly guitars and a gradual build of instrumentation, though his peculiar warbling keeps it just the right side of anthemic.

Lil White Lies is a pleasingly raggedy alt-rock tune; "I want to play in the graveyard," Gloss sings over a jangly guitar and surf-drums akin to Bumblebeez Pony Ride mating with Nada Surf's Popular. Jesus Don't Want Me Anymore with is emotional confessional introduction feels like it's about to become an Issac Hayes number if it weren't for the country-ballad guitars and the off-key singing, it's a drunken sing-a-long with ear-piercingly awful (yet brilliant) falsetto.

The record comes to an end with Mellow Yellow Moon which is aptly wolflike in its opening hollers and growling, though overly more reminiscent of Brian Jonestown Massacre doing a camp-fire sing-a-long. Gloss allows the fun of howling the lyrics take over any attempt to stay in tune and it works, turning into a mantra over psychedelic guitar and synth lines as it tumbles unsteadily towards its conclusion.

Having begun their life as a band in Australia before moving to London there's a certain shapelessness to the line-up of Mickey Gloss, whether they're one person or one hundred, this is an off-beat and intriguing debut LP.