It's promised as a 'smoky lounge of lust, intrigue
and herbs - where satin sheets meet slipmats, and chocolate
truffles and a massage meet turntables and a mixer'.
And without exception, it's not far wrong. The salacious
intent of a million love songs are stripped down to
their fundamentals ( and their socks) and laid bare
for all to see.
If there was ever a more pleasurable baring of the device,
then we'd sure as hell like to know about it.
Produced by Dan "the Automator" Nakamura of Gorillaz,
Deltron 3030, Octagon, Handsome Boy
Modeling School fame, the album features a celebrity
sleaze montage of guest vocalists and informers: Faith
No More's Mike Patton, Elysian Fields' Jennifer
Charles, Kid Koala on decks.
Hamming up the role of sexologist in residence on the
recording are Chest Rockwell AKA. Prince Paul
from Handsome Boy Modeling School, Charmelle Carmel
from De La Soul and Damon Albarn of Blur
hip-hop, part retro, part deconstruction, part soul,
part Hitchcock, part film noir, the album is a delirious,
heady blend of sleazy kitsch pop and sci-fi trip hop.
Popularized by the monstrous visual success of Gorillaz,
Nakamura's mystery science-theatre this time courts
a tastefully erotic theatre of the soul and mind. At
once manual, kit model and soundtrack to love.
Lovage postulates on courtship, personal hygiene,
seduction, erotomania and transgression, simulltaneously
managing to push the boundaries of the subconscious
and music itself in the process.
If Gorillaz were like Josie and The Pussycats,
Lovage is like the aural fusion of The Joy of Sex, the
Kama Sutra and Pandora's Box. Naturalistically conceived
and thoughtfully executed, the album takes all the kitsch
seventies reference points of The Avalanche's Since
I left You and welds them with an sultry fetish
slideshow of europorn and Easy Tempos. It's got the
joys, the tastes and the smells of sex - make no mistake
about it - you will be seduced by this album.
Crud seriously believes that if you are just looking
for one album to remember this years and next years
love by - this is the album.
Imaginative, referential, playful in it's deconstruction
of the courtship myth, Lovage a hugely melodic listen
and looks set to be one of the best underground releases
Trained in classical violin from the age of three until
his teenage years, Nakumara, says of the present climate:
" Hip-Hop hasn't done anything as cool as Portishead,
Bjork or Radiohead in ten years...For me futuristic
is simple, it's Windows. It's the internet, communicating
something quickly and directly".
As quick and direct as the album's impact is though,
this by no means a casual knee-trembler listen: it's
a durable and full on session.
Here's a blow by blow account of Dan's melodic strings
1. Ladies Love Chest Rockwell
A few Barry White 'Walrus of Love' reference points
and Chest Rockwell stirs up a conundrum of sleaze and
lounge-lizardry. What makes you successful? Is it that
bulge in your pants? We'll let you in to a little secret..It's
Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By.
2. Pit Stop (Take me Home)
Love on the road has always been special. Jennifer Charles
stops her car for a rider. Sultry, esoteric, dreamy
and lustful with ever the slightest hint of something
eastern and mystical. the sound of naive submission
giving way to eager fulfillment. Mike and Jennifers
vocals ably accompanied by tinkling piano and feather-lite
beats and brushes.
3. Anger Management
First chink of genius on the album. Take a deep breath
and count to ten, this is the sound of your crazy latino
analyst seducing you. A lush and sleepy Spanish Harlem
with a slush soul groove. Easy listening, cocktail lounge
croonerisms interrupted by a heavenly Smokey Robinson-esque
falsetto. Someone is about to explode. "Why must god
punish me this way?"
4. Everyone Has A Summer
Closest thing here to anything on the cut and paste
hip-hop of The Avalanches information-film tinged 'Since
I Left You' album. Kid Koala takes over the decks. Retro,
filmic sound-bites and slasher flick trailer narratives
- all accompanied byswaggering hip-hop breaks, arpeggio
guitars and harmonicas. Lilting stuff.
5. To Catch A Thief
French chic-flicks, Hitchcock and Raffles all rolled
into one. A drowsy, lisping tale of stolen breaths and
longing. Luxurious piano stabs, melting Hammonds and
purring break-beats help Jennifer steal the show. There
is nothing like a little excitement to keep the romance
6. Lies and Alibis
Morricone meets the salubrious cocktail lounge of Easy
Tempo. An 18 Certificate instrumental. Tangibly breathless
but mellow all the same. Languid flutes and lazy strings.
7. Herbs, Good Hygiene and Socks
Uniquely hilarious blending of fifties information film
styled sexual enquiry and upfront modern bluff. Afrikka
Bambaata tells it how it is: it's all in your socks.
An honest, bare bone approach to getting laid and personal
hygiene. Not to be missed. The Love Boat strings playing
out behind the narrative are truly inspired. And anyone
who can depict the little black dots on your socks as
illustrative of erotic failure just has to know their
8. Book Of The Month
Another standout track on the album. Mike Patton and
Jennifer Charles get in on to an addictive descending
bass sequence. Has all the dark, seductive pleasure
of Neneh Cherry's Seven Seconds and all the euphoric
ouch of Scritti Politti's Wood Beez. Smoldering interaction
between the vocalists with some tasty highs and lows.
" You got your chocolate in my peanut butter". A song
that melts in moments.
The descending bass run continues, this time along to
the infectious languid sample that is a Sunken Dream.
60's hammond beefs up the psychedelia, and the Jazzy
Portishead bass stokes the mood. Another stunningly
beautiful duet between Patton and Charles. Coming together
gorgeously, Mr Merriweather.
10. Strangers on A Train
Film-noir follow up to To Catch A Thief. The intrigue
and mystery continues with more mental as anything Avalanches
tinkling piano, squeeks and buzzes. Moaning and groaning
courtesy of a purring and pouting, Monroe-esque Jennifer
Charles. "You're very charming, sir", "The stiff one
is my speciality". Blissful innuendo and the pleasure's
Damon Albarn steals a classic interlude moment to tell
us about Devon's most popular imbibe, Lovage. A true
winter-warmer - this is how it works. Enjoy.
12. Sex (I'm A)
Wickedly graphic moment of pleasure courtesy of passion
players Charles and Patton. Wrapped in mutual, moanful
caresses this is a stirring sexual announcement. Smooth
porno strings and arpeggios helps soothe a memorable
Madame's narrative. Why do married men use hookers?.
Find out here. "Do me. Suck me". Glad I asked. A truly
twin kick treat of a song.
13. Koala's Lament
Come down spanish lament courtesy of Kid Koala and the
heart-string ballet. Cool and soothing.
14. Tea Time With Maseo
De La Soul's Charmelle Carmel brings it all back down
to socks. It's as simple and as complex that.
15. Stroker Ace
Charles runs out a delectable Francoise Hardy impression
and invites us to 'stroke it'. Trip beats soak up a
creamy, hands on atmosphere. Full of illicit poison.
Only for the wild at heart and those who like to watch.
Want to learn how to cast a spell. Listen up: stroking's
what it's all about. Dig those Some Like It Hot sound-bites.
16. Archie & Veronica
Shimmering wind-chimes launch another scorching Charles
led duet. Crackling Portishead vinyl stirs up the perfect
pastoral vibe. Orphelia never had it so good. Mike Patton
never looked so funny in black. Soily. Very very soily.
Tempted? So light up a fine Cuban cigar and pour yourself
a little something…
Two parts Hennessey, one part Lovage, perhaps?
LOVAGE (noun): Lovage is an herb that is said to be
a benefit for relieving abdominal pains due to gastrointestinal
gas. It's also been touted to reduce flatulence when
consumed as a tea brewed from its roots or leaves.
(I AM A)
The full Lovage live experience featuring Kid Koala,
Dan "The Automator", Mike Patton, Jennifer Charles and
others will be hitting the road in the new year for
a few select dates:
1/7/02 Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
1/8/02 San Fransico, CA @ Slim's
1/9/02 Seattle, WA @ I -Spy
1/10/02 Vancouver, BC @ Richard's on Richards Cabaret
1/12/02 Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave.
1/13/02 Chicago,IL @ House of Blues
1/15/02 Toronto, ONT @ Phoenix Concert Theater
1/16/02 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
1/17/02 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Alan Sargeant for Crud Magazine© 2001