The Coathangers – Larceny & Old Lace (Suicide Squeeze)
by Tamsin Chapman
When I was a kid we kept bees, and I’d stick my tongue under the honey tap and drink it neat. Until one day I accidentally swallowed a dead bee.
I haven’t eaten honey since. But if you force-fed me nothing but that, after a while I’d long for dead bees. An amuse-bouche of furry bee bodies, followed by seagull dipped in oil slick and, for pudding, babies’ heads fried with Fukushima death rays. Now we’re living in a golden age of femme pop, but lately after all that gloopy, viscous sweetness, I’m starting to get a little jaded. My mouth is clagging, my body’s sagging. I’m sick of cream. I want some crunch. I want some dead fucking bees. And so I’m listening to the first track on Larceny & Old Lace, ‘Hurricane’, and my heart’s racing and my chest is pounding and I’m thinking YEAH.
The thing about music like this is it could never be described as polite. It’s brash, bristling and jagged as a dirty needle in a jungle gym. Julia Kugel’s voice is the key – her vocal chords are torn and twisted, like her throat’s smoking a fag as she yelps and wheezes. She does venom, but she also knows how to break your heart. The other surprise here is proper tunes. This is still pop, but it’s pop that would make your minge burn if you pissed it out. Cystitis pop. These girls are riffmeisters: repetitive Fall-y grooves, the odd bit of bleepy-blurpy organ noise. There’s a good bit of The B-52s in here (probably all sorts of other things too; I don’t really care. I haven’t heard every record ever. But you, the music-loving public – I’m talking to you, boys! – who no doubt have will, I’m sure, be able to enlighten me. I do note that the bassline at the beginning of the Jay Reatard-dedicated ‘Jaybird’ sounds exactly the same as PIL’s ‘Public Image’ though). This doesn’t matter. What does matter is: I’m invigorated. Larceny & Old Lace tastes of insect corpses and feels like a urinary tract infection, and that’s a good thing.