(Lava Church, 2015)
What am I supposed to expect from a band called UFO Sex Scene? There are a couple of options. First, it might be some kind of kinky ambient synth project, laserbeams directly penetrating the night sky, with “penetrating” the operative word here. But that’s not it, not at all. Second, take a look at the lineup of Caleb Johnson, Fernando Diaz, and Vanessa Whirlynn Garcia (with additional bass tracks by Jasmine Deja) on the cover of the tape, and let your mind wander. You expecting Royal Trux yet, maybe even Pussy Galore? Wiggly hip garage punk? You’re getting closer. (And is Garcia’s real middle name “Whirlynn”? That’s inspired.)
Then what do you expect when the tape’s called Mothership Loveshack? A Bootsy Collins/B-52s jam? Which, I gotta admit, sounds somewhat interesting even though I’m not a huge fan of Bootsy’s (or P-Funk’s) or the B-52s. (I guess “Rock Lobster” is funny enough.) Well, it’s not quite that, but damn if it doesn’t rumble and shimmy in all the right places. Groovy psychedelics plus Motor City gnarl, that’s where it’s at. But these “right places” are bound and bordered by an experimental nature, as if Jennifer Herrema or Cristina Martinez have been whisked away in an Ed Wood–inspired extraterrestrial disc for the purposes of … whatever nefarious purposes Ed Wood aliens would have for Jennifer Herrema or Christina Martinez.
And don’t discount either of them breaking out and taking over the ship.
So where does that leave us? Seven tunes of blistering hot comet rock and noisy breakdowns, I guess. But opener “C-Rex” is an obscured-voice and eerie chime spoken-word alien thingy, and I can’t make out much except snippets like “…ready for launch…” which I assume is a euphemism. (Wonder what the “C” in “C-Rex” stands for…) A little less than two minutes later and the boogie wonderland of “Outlives the Sun” is upon us, making everyone within earshot beg “UFO Sex Scene, bring us a UFO sex party, pronto!” At least I imagine that’s what happens when the band plays live. How could it possibly not? Especially when followed by R&B-flavored “slow jam” “In It” (in what? How? Euphemism again? PLEASE TELL ME!), which becomes a DFA-esque noise-disco jawn by the end. Getting shivers!
“Mabus” is straight-up Pussy Galore punk with exquisitely strangled guitars, and “Andromeda” is almost a pop masterpiece if it wasn’t so dirty. (And dirty, heh heh.) But the title track, “Mothership Loveshack” itself, is a slow-burning prog-punk (!) nightmare, made uber-sexxxy by the feverishly soaring guitar and Garcia’s plaintive vocals. It’s a great culmination, a climax, if you will, for UFO Sex Scene’s vision. Something like, to paraphrase Newbridge’s Gas Station Dogs, rock and roll dreams will come through – except they’ll be wet dreams, amiright???
RIYL: Royal Trux, PJ Harvey, Noisettes