Highlights: Cool Zombie, Dirty Beast, Punkyoungirl, Cradle Your Hatred
“Lift up your skirt, let me lick the alphabet”. Well, I don’t know, Adam, I just don’t know. Christ what a mess. This album – and you should guess as much from the title – is all over the place, sonically, stylistically and even production-wise. All over the goddamn shop. First he will blow you away with the crisp, ridiculously effective lead-off single “Cool Zombie” and then he will throw you right into the muddy, noisy waters of the intensely murky “Stay In The Game”. It’s one hell of a ride.
This sounds like a concept album whose concept you should never even try to understand. So instead let’s concentrate on the actual songs. They are excellent. I don’t mean ‘a weary old man who used to’ excellent – no: excellent by any standard. Obviously when you have a 17-song record to deal with, some songs won’t work as well as others (not a huge fan of the funky but uneventful title track or the generic hard rock sheen of “Hardmentoughblokes”), some won’t work at all (the album peters out towards the end, after the lengthy but pleasantly whimsical singalong “Who’s A Goofy Bunny?” – now that’s a good question). The classics include the aforementioned “Cool Zombie”, a cool, catchy pop-rocker with some delicious slide guitar, and the intricate, layered, expertly produced power ballad “Cradle Your Hatred” that features Adam’s best vocal performance on the album. But overall there’s just so much to enjoy here: the laidback, intriguing groove of “Dirty Beast”, the melodic acoustic ballad “Vivienne’s Tears”, the over-the-top chorus of “Shrink”, etc. Hooks galore.
Adam Ant is ridiculous, but here’s what’s interesting: this kind of patchy format suits the man just fine. I can forgive him an occasional misfire, simply because few albums this year have offered quite so much. In the face of such silly, confusing, entertaining mess – my advice is to hang on and dig in.