Experiencing the Lanternjack live is a must, but Hussy, the band’s sophomore effort, provides enough nourishment for the band’s shock-me fans between gigs. And as the list of venues the band is allowed to play in gets shorter with each reckless display of drunken rock ’n’ roll mayhem, the album might prove vital.
And a display of vitality it is, recorded raw enough to capture the band’s straightforward power and glazed enough to expose its grime/glam sleaze. Hussy continues where 1999’s Little Beast left off, in the sex-rock-sex gutter, but the second is more song-oriented (actual sentences and ideas are established) and professional sounding. As Flying Johnny Flash howls “Burning bright in the night/And I’m moving up your thigh/I’m a boy with a plan/Cause I’m taking what I can” In “21st Century Whore,” you can visualize him writhing on the ground in a pile of speaker wires. And in between each stretched out “ye-a-he-yeah!” he’s saturating the recording room with beer. His motions convulse in the spur of the moment, but his mind is clear and focused. This guy wants to get laid, and he’s not too modest to grab a dirty girl from the audience and get it on mid-song. He spends the majority of shows horny ’n’ horizontal anyway. As long as he keeps one hand on the mic, everything’s cool, right?
While the band’s style and attitude mimic the shock and punk abandon of the Stooges and the MC5, the sound is a bit more driving and metallic, and the content skips over the anti-establishment stuff and dives right into the sex. Even though the lyrics are pretty easy to read and the music not too far-reaching, the overall effect digs deeper. In addition to the expected rockstar contortionist, shirtless posturing and glam come-hither grinding of bass and guitar, the drummer has to sweat out each show in a goat head. Points for originality. And then when you see Track 12 on the album is a cover of “Teenage Lust,” the first thing that comes to mind is, “Typical. They’re covering MC5.” But when you get to the song, you realize it’s actually the Jesus and Mary Chain one about virgin fetishism. And they make it fit.
The resulting sound epitomizes the burst of energy that comes immediately after declaring you just plain don’t give a shit. It’s the energy that inspires people to dart into a burning building to save those inside. But it’s also the energy that urges someone to douse a building with gasoline and light the match in the first place.
The Lanternjack philosophy seems to follow the rule that if there’s no risk involved it’s not worth it. And it’s apparently the sedated form of risk-taking — the most fun and most hazardous.
Melissa Giannini is the Metro Times staff music writer. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.