A full blood moon’s hanging thick over Rockies. Earlier on I saw dinosaur steps and bones, pressed into layers of once-flat beach sand that turned into mud that turned into rock that turned to upended slabs that jut out of the sides of sharp mountains. What was flat nearly upright. What was beach now a cliff. And everything round me got here out of chaos.
Now I’m sat between ridges and ranges and chaos is here in the house… It’s been in my ears and it’s been in car stereos and it’s given long journeys brief fever. Slumb Party’s ‘Happy Now’ is breakneck in pace and in place of a thrill is a pupil dilation from trying to make sense of each track; these things pass quicker than oncoming cars at a speed that I don’t want to print.
I’ve had that a few times, a pre-teen encounter with X Ray Spex being the biggest. Later on, introductions to Pink Grease, Rezillos, B52s, and The Chap all had me same type of eye-swivelled. Noise and play and don’t care and don’t give and don’t care what noises come out.
But it aint true. They do. Like Ramones’ quick-cut maps of condensed pop songs that get crammed into 1 to 2 minutes, these Slumb Party tracks blast and rattle too quick to find shape til you go back for seconds. Or let yourself into their tight-wrangled world.
Sax spits off basslines that jangle tight wire, skittish guitars clash with offbeats and synths and vocals verge on dada / dumb observation. Are these wrought observations as made by onlookers or semi-snide snipes pitched at pictures of self? ‘We Used to Fight’, ‘Happy Now’, ‘Trophy’, and ‘Midlife Crisis’ are titles to serve case and point. And I will like both or take either.
First space for breathing comes midway through album. Song 7 of 12, less than 10 minutes in, and it’s first time we break from all-in everything nows. ‘Everybody’ is a strut amongst intensive sprint-listens and somehow brings a divide to the album. Everything after is a little less scattered, a little more focused and while still just as playful, there’s play with intent. Maybe some order to chaos. Or at least a modicum of it. More than that ruins the fun and then no one gets happy and we aught to be Happy Now.
I’ve listened, eye swivelled, dissected, re-listened, re-listened and listened again. And I’ll keep the chaos around me.