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Smegma - Glamour Girl 1941 CD (album) cover

GLAMOUR GIRL 1941

Smegma

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.08 | 5 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Smegma’s first album is easily the most accessible among four that I’ve heard to-date. That’s sort of a relative statement though considering most of the band’s output would only marginally be considered music to most listeners.

This was their first proper album, recorded in their own studios shortly after their relocation from southern California to Portland, Oregon. The album was released by the Los Angeles Free Music Society, a collective of like-minded musicians from which Smegma has emerged as the longest-lasting. The subtitle “Five Wasted Years” presumably refers to the five years of touring and local appearances between when the band was founded and this first full-length studio effort.

While the group’s music is ostensibly a reaction to the glut of overblown and pretentious interpretive jazz that had flooded the southern California clubs in the latter seventies, the band still retained a strong base in jazz with this release. The same cannot really be said of some of their later work, which ranges widely from punk to post-rock to almost metal to cacophony.

The songs here are tame by comparison, with plenty of saxophone, bass and percussion, albeit in sporadic doses and not following any sort of traditional jazz patterns. The band’s output is highly experimental, and at times hard to follow. On “Die Wo-Wo” for example the band combines some sort of weird recorded sounds digitally altered with mild sax bleats for effect but with little obvious connection to the song title. The vocals are few and far between, the first coming on the fifth track “I Am Not a Artist”, a wandering discordant drum and bass number with rambling repetitions of the song title sung by someone named “Isvan Kantor” apparently shoving a microphone into his throat and blaring in a fashion not unlike that of Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes. “Ladies Nite at the Ortho Lounge" features vocals as well, but not really singing as a couple of band members bleat out combinations of guttural sounds and random, unrelated words.

You gotta’ be fairly adventurous and have an appetite for the unusual to seek these guys out, but if you’re inclined to do so this would be the right album to start with. Three stars for a daring and unique initial effort, something that can’t necessarily be said of all their work.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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