SARANDON might be construed as being in some kind of a hurry. Indeed, 28 tracks in 38 minutes seems to say something about someone's attention span. Mine perhaps?
The 28 have been cropped by the Wrath conglomerate from four previous releases on different labels. In the process they have formed a nicely dense gravitational field of minimalist postpunk pop that holds together very well indeed. Rattling it might be. Falling apart? Impossible.
Juddering, skittering, scratching noises can be taken as read, I think. And so too a rather scintillating cut and paste approach to time signatures and tempos. The brilliant and the totally wrecked will dance deliriously. The rest of us will twitch appreciatively and occasionally lose our bearings.
The longest track on the CD, "bored", is an epic one minute 59 and probably has one verse deliberately too many as a revenge joke against the critics. Lyrically the plan is to stab the ideas in, whip them out and leave before the wounds start to hurt. Skimming the lyric sheets (part of a very nice little bundle in my CD case) I spot glints of wisdom leering out at me: "we love to kick our friends"; "the common man lies down to die"; "he left the car and took the moped"; "I was a health geek for just a week". Listening incredulously I can only just keep up as the words fly past. What a buzz.
On balance this album should definitely not work. So thank goodness it isn’t balanced and three cheers for the fact that it does work. It's bonkers, quirky, intelligent and very rewarding. And if you think, for even a minute, that it's getting stuck in a rut of northern miserabilty, a great chod of delight comes flailing out of SARANDON's creative cupboard of love and slaps you across the forehead. "don’t say no" is a case in point – it brims over with disco stomping mini-skirts, dubious sex, white boys with afros and a cool horn section.
I think that if you are inclined to the eccentric side of life, appreciate tightly controlled instrumental aggression and have the knack of making fine cocktails from lemon juice and raw spirit, then SARANDON should be on your list of great discoveries in 2006.
I would write more, but it would be a betrayal of SARANDON's elegant terseness. Just buy it.