steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

review
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info opinion

Thee Michelle Gun Elephant

"Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter" CD

Alive Records

Genres: Japanese punk rock, garage rock, hardcore

Alive Records
PO Box 7112
Burbank, CA 91510

Apr 7 - 13 2003

You know that really fucked up band who play crazy songs filled with non-sequitur lyrics like "She makes herself up like a lake and wears that rock from the moon" that you just can't get enough of?  Thee Michelle Gun Elephant are that band - in Japanese form - and Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter is that exciting, ridiculous album you've always wanted.  With equal elements of garage rock and hardcore, this could be one of the most exciting albums to come out this millennium (or are millennium references too passť now that we're in 2003?)

They have power on their side.  They have energy on their side.  They have rock fever on their side.  TMGE are masters of excitement, and their music just begs you to dance 'til your feet are nothing but bloody stumps.  Every song on Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter is a winner.

"God Jazz Time" is a fast-paced, relentless scorcher without anything holding it back.  Its explosive, yelled chorus will get you jumping around like there's no tomorrow (or today or yesterday or two weeks from now...)  "Rita," meanwhile, is almost a James Bond tune in the making, filled with a secret-spy guitar bit and some really nice melodies that'll have you humming along in a matter of seconds.

The only problem I can see with Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter would be the dilemma it would prove to be for those who expect a certain sense of meaningful deepness in lyrics (EMO KIDS LISTEN UP, THIS AIN'T NO WUSSY WEEPIN' RECORD)

Power, melody, silliness... if you've got a bit of energy left in ya at the end of a long, hard day, put on Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter and let it work its magic.  By the finishing bit of the terrific finale, "The Redhead Kelly," you'll be a sweating mess.

90%

Fun Fact: Some of the interesting lyrics contained on Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter:

  • "200-proof alcoholic zonk and/The careless pacing of a canary"
  • "My heart is a violin/Made of an imaginary musical scale and/A shattered-off piece to some rock"
  • "Beyond the night/Beyond the day/Beyond the night/The loneliness of the CitroŽn continues"

(Lyrics as translated from Japanese in the album's liner notes)

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 14 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]