Sunday, April 24, 2011

Album Review: Pigface - "Fook" (1992)


Okay... Here's where it starts getting difficult.

Unlike what seems like the whole rest of industrial fandom, I never swooned over this album. Sure, I liked it. Didn't regret buying it or anything, especially for how cheap I got it. But for all the fuss over it (and the great number of talented musicians), it left me... underwhelmed. I'm giving it another go as I type this, so perhaps my mind will be changed.

Unlike Gub, which was very lo-fi and experimental and sparse and drum-oriented and basically sounded like what you'd get if some famous industrial and punk musicians decided to record pieces of songs in each other's basements between tours, this one sounds like Grand Central by comparison. Much more shit going on... And not necessarily in a good way, like the best Skinny Puppy or NIN albums.

One thing about this album is that it has more of a stable lineup and more personnel on each song... The sound is more standard and song-based and full of guitars... Bill Rieflin is gone, but in his absence, we get a fairly consistent group of instrumentalists that includes old pal William Tucker as well as Paul Raven of Killing Joke and Andrew Weiss of Rollins Band, so it's not a bad trade. En Esch plays guitar on literally half the album too, so cool beans.

The album kicks off with "Alles Ist Mine", the second installment of Pigface's series of "En Esch rasps over frenzied drumming" songs... But this one has some funky bass, kickass guitars and is just better-produced. It gets a thumbs-up from me.

"Ten Ground and Down" is an interesting moody cello-based track that features new frequent Pigface vocalist Lesley Rankine sharing vocal duties once again with the inimitable Chris Connelly. I never paid this track much heed before, but it's quite good.

"Seven Words" is a noisy track sung by Mary Byker from some noise rock band called Gaye Bykers on Acid. Reminds me of a cross between Big Black and Chemlab (the latter of which at least makes sense, what with William Tucker tearing it up on guitar). Decent but not essential in the least.

"Insemination" is a drum-heavy track with the return of Nivek Ogre. That Matt Schulz guy providing some cool militaristic samples. It actually sounds like a more polished version of something we would have gotten on Gub, with maybe a dash of what we'd get from Rx later on. Nice track.

"Hips, Tits, Lips, Power!" is a strange little track with Lesley Rankine and Mary Byker singing about, well, guess what? It's not a bad track but it kind of drags. I love the guitars though.

"Satellite" is a kind of generic-sounding Mary Byker-fronted song. It's not bad at all, it's just... nice. At this point several tracks on the album are starting to bleed together from sounding similar, and this is one of them.

"I'm Still Alive" is an odd, bouncy number with Esch and Ogre... I like it, it doesn't differ too much from some of these other songs but it's fun and has some interesting sounds and samples.

"Auto Hag" is yet another Mary Byker track and basically has the band doing a staticy noise-rock/metal thing. It's unfortunately kind of meh.

"Go!" is another Esch/Ogre track and it's decent... Sounds like a lesser outtake from Gub. Cool but inessential.

"I Can Do No Wrong" has David Wm. Sims of The Jesus Lizard playing us out while Chris Connelly gives us that heavenly voice one more time. It's pretty stripped-down and basic but atmospheric at the same time. Sounds kind of like what The Jesus Lizard would be if it had a crooning Scottish vocalist, more polished production and some jazzy drumming. One of the better ones from this album.

So, that's the album. One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that, I guess thanks to having two bassists, the bass is extremely prominent. My main gripe is that the album kind of runs short on ideas. Many of the songs sound very similar and get kind of dull... A problem that would eventually be inverted in later albums then there's very little stylistic consistency within an album.

Overall... Decent, but one of Pigface's lesser albums, I think. I still don't see what all the fuss is about.

RATING: 2.5/5

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