Album Reviews

Pink Grease – This Is For Real

(mute) UK release date: 21 June 2004

There are a lot of new bands around at the moment offering heavy rock ‘n’ roll with a twist. Franz Ferdinand have stormed into contention, The Killers are getting great press and Scissor Sisters have swept all before them. Can Pink Grease compete in this league with their debut album? Well, Mute does have a knack of finding interesting artists…

Fever, the first single from This Is For Real, was superb and made me look forward to the album with keen anticipation. It showed not only wild exuberance and exciting, basic rhythms but also musical creativity in the B-sides, especially Shiver.

Alas, the same can’t be said of the album. The exuberance is certainly there, but what happened to variety? Too many tracks start with lead Rory Lewarne, he of the bleached hair and sultry looks, giving some falsetto squeals and shouting “c’mon” on equivalent. It sounded good first time round but it gets really rather tiresome after a while.

Remember Forever has some heavy, basic guitar that does the job of driving the song forward to a rather good chorus courtesy of The Greasettes (they really couldn’t be called anything better). The intro to The Pink G.R.Ease, the second single, is virtually the same, with dirty sax from John Lynch replacing the guitars.

Emotional Retard takes the pace to a more frenetic level in a song that wouldn’t be out of place in The Rocky Horror Show (not that that’s any bad thing). Wind Up Bird does offer a change to a more traditional song structure, and you have to hand it to them for a different sort of lyric with the chorus of “my cat is dead / gone down the well”.

The Nasty Show is one of rawest, anarchic tracks – “I want to fucking die for you, I want to die fucking you…” – with some great grinding guitar and wild sax, closely followed by Party Live which finally gives us some welcome variation in rhythm. Serial Heartbreaker showcases Rory Lewarne sounding uncannily like Bryan Ferry in his sleaziest lounge-lizard phase – interesting that this is one of the best tracks. Lewarne has a great voice when he isn’t yelping.

Back to the standard screams for High Strung Chironi, alas but the final track is really worth waiting for. Into My Heart retains all the power of the rowdier tracks but adds a depth, an interest that is lacking in many. It has a great chorus – “I don’t really know you but you got straight into my heart” – some lovely sounds from Nick Collier’s “machine”, great guitar, and Lewarne back in Ferry mode. Not a yelp to be heard.

Will Pink Grease last the course? Maybe, and I wish them well because there’s no doubt they’re fresh and fun. And they are from Sheffield… But they need to come up with a bit more musical variety to do any serious damage.

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