Nawak Rock 2020
Out of “The Grand Wazoo” school of misplaced melodious mischief, international troupe of merry pranksters spring back in action.
Don’t be mistaken by this album’s title – although it’s a second full-length effort by the Cork-based collective who reference pissing as N°1; nor be fooled by the band’s taking the piss for about decade and a half – the ensemble took a sabbatical from 2010 to 2020 to remain faithful to their drummer who had to return to Japan. Not that the group were on genuine hiatus, as the recording of a follow-up to the post-dissolution EP “Lysergik Tea Party” commenced while the line-up still seemed to fluctuate around singer Simon Fleury before solidifying anew once the original rhythm unit became available again. And not that the artists embraced any sorts of seriousness in the interim, “N°2” brimming with japes and puns,
“You see I question me / To define my own reality”: here’s the line to perfectly define the method in the madness of this deliciously deranged record teeming with repulsively riveting characters and speedily revolving riffs… or is it other way around in the world where Frank Zappa and Kevin Godley’s acolytes zap old gods and new heroes and where all things ostentatious sit on a pedestal until they’re ritually slaughtered just for kicks? Here’s the reason why the instrumental “Crimson Jig” unashamedly, albeit elegantly, enshrouds one’s ears in a fusion-tinged Frippesque fandango, and the album’s opener “Captain Introspective” resolves a solemn piano recital in a blistering assault on the listener’s senses, the piece’s lyrics fiercely barked towards the ivories swirl which will split the hardest of personalities and fill the rift with the tribal chant of a chorus.
However, as Ai Uchida’s beat and Kengo Moichizuki’s bass spank Fleury’s multiple voices, powerful operatics are poured into “The Underground In Europe” whose camp panorama can obliterate “We Are The Champions” in a classic rocker’s mind’s eye even without Pierre Schmidt’s six-string attack, Axel Steinbiss’ keyboard-delivered waltz and the prayer that’s saved for a coda. As a result, the punchy “Maestro Mafioso” couldn’t start at a better place to spit its über-effusive emotions across the aforementioned continent, the number’s melodrama as heavy-hitting as the belligerent jazzy tromp of “She’s A Stomper” – but “Even Weezles Get The Blues” is as histrionic and honeyed as the best of vaudeville arias, roaring and soothing in equal measure with a lot of tempo-shifting and mood-shitting gusto.
And then there’s the no less tasty, yet teasing and barf-inducing, pastiche of “Eskimo Pie” which is able to whet a mere mortal’s appetite and provide a barbershop polyphony to accompany them to heaven – or hell. At least that’s what the epic criminal story of “Cluedo” seems to suggest via its mosaic-like, immersive imagery and the Wilcox adage of “Laugh and the world laughs at you” – the finale of this fascinating puzzle of an album. Solving such a puzzle should be an intellectual challenge; spinning such a rebus should be an aural pleasure.