Album Reviews

12-Stone Toddler – Does It Scare You?

(Amazon) UK release date: 2 July 2007


12-stone-toddler“Kids, today’s question is: ‘Terrorvision: Were they ever any good?.'”

Lest any of you in outer tasteville were wondering, the answer, of course, is: “No way, cheesebreath, laters to that student band shit.”

“But while we’re on the subject, Mr Contrary,” you might continue, “how come these Brightonians have got as much as three stars in your otherwise hardass rating system, bearing in mind their resemblance to said hapless Yorkshiremen?”

Well, dear surfer, seeing as you know more than we do, why don’t you have a hypothetical pop at the reasons why, all in the name of interactivity?

“OK Methuselah, get a loada this. musicOMH, here’s the word from the street…

“Were I out of my mash on lager pints one nite in a university bar, Ballad Of Al Coholic’s bavarian stomp would be a prefect soundtrack to chuck jugs of crap Carling at the fixtures and fittings, while the rugby team eye me for some dread initiation rite.

“If I’d never ‘eard Tom Waits do it hundred times better, then the carny freakshow of Balloonatics really would have the snake oil charm it misses by the height of a stovepipe hat.

“If muso jamming was as much fun to listen to as it was to play then a swing-a-longa-parody like The Rabbit would be the party anthem it clearly longs to be.

“And the more personas the singer Chris Otero adopts, the more the whole escapade gathers a, whaddaycall that word…?”

Which one?

“You know, where something just seems like a smart-arse take off of sumthin’ else entirely?”

Ersatz?

“That’s the one. A whiff of ersatzness. Or summat.”

So why are you still listening to it then?

“Well…well…maybe its because Otero sounds much like the seedy guy who minds the waltzers at the fairground. The kind of dude that eyes up your sister while having a much better time than all the paying rubes.

“Maybe it’s because, in times swamped with bands desperately wearing the tension of the zeitgeist like a slogan t-shirt, the oom-pah party plan of Does It Scare You? feels just like coming to the end of the EastEnders omnibus.

“Then again, it might be because of moments that just about pull back from over-egging the pastiche. Like Tristan McLehanan’s dweedling guitar solo on Twang, with Ben Jones progging it up like he was the bastard son of Keith Emerson on Living A Lie.”

Anything else?

“Well… yeah… and even though Does It Scare You? is knocked through with the kind of racking self-doubt borne only of excess, you just know these fella’s ain’t too busy examining the reflection of their furrowed brows like weight-of-the-world worriers like The National and Arcade Fire.”

So you’re a fan, then?

“Hold yer return key a minute, buster. Does It Scare You is all lively enough, but frankly all the rocking burlesque just gets a bit too Alice Cooper to allow for any staying power. And at times, it even sounds like…oh, no…”

Terrorvision?

“…that’s the one…”

Told ya. Three stars then?

“Yup. That should just about do it.”


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