Album Review

Pere Ubu – “Lady From Shanghai” – [Fire Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/1/2013   A Library, CD

I think this one will please Pere Ubu fans, as it
did please me, but may not pull any new folks into
David Thomas’ art-rock tenement. His voice is still
strikingly identifiable, like your favorite creaky
floorboard at home. There’s plenty of nice tweaked
out oddities (and rotating, pulsing drone with hi-hats
that closes out “And Then Nothing Happened”), and
“Feuksley” has some scruffy sample that teams with
a bouncy drum machine for a kind of western romp.
Great sturdy bass work on that… If like me, you
dig a Thomas-ian spoken story over ramshackle
instrumentation, called in from the last phone
booth on the higway, check out “Carpenter Sun.”
And yeah, lyrics a plenty, poking at the token rock
and roll lexicon it seems, Arthur Brown’s “Time”,
Bo-Diddley’s “you shoulda heard just what I seen”
maybe something from “Venus in Furs” and the opening
track is going to ring a lot of bells. I’m sure I’m
missing references a plenty. But the more I spin
this, the further I go in (initially I felt some
sonic ideas were left on repeat too long, but I
was probably wrong again). I know I am scum, but at
least I’m in good company with the catchiest number
here, “Musicians Are Scum.”

-Thurston Hunger

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