John Foster is taking over today. Cause he wanted to.
There was always a punk/funk/no wave vibe to !!! that people seemed to latch on to, but for me, they always had more in common with the bleak urban (and white) version of that big R+B swagger, as interpreted by kids weaned on indie rock, that evolved across the pond in the 80s. The highlights, all the way back to “Me And Giuliani,” were always filled with bedrock ass shaking and jutted against the chilly and disassociated exterior. Slinky – but not sexy.
Buying into a California collective being able to relate to the dirty, dark, house nightclub vibe of ravaged industrial cities in the blown out 80s, takes a little leap of faith, but perhaps factoring in how the ever-changing drug scene helps those sounds evolve is a smaller step.
If it hasn’t become obvious yet, the parallel I am making is with the Manchester scene of the 80s, that eventually blanketed the iconic Hacienda nightclub. The suffocating (and gloriously) stilted funk of the likes of A Certain Ratio form an obvious touchstone for early !!!. Had I caught on to that connection previously, the group’s evolution might have been obvious. In the same way that the initial tight turns and jagged pokes rode above thick basslines from ACR, they now give way to the hedonistic ramblings of the shamanistic pop grab of The Happy Mondays – !!! have created there own personal Madchester! The first shuffling beats you hear on disc opener AM/FM embrace this changeover fully, but I thought we should take in the throb of “Wannagain Wannagain” to best soak it up.
As someone who enjoyed a blurred time period of underground warehouse dance parties, I whole-heartedly support a full-fledged revival. Other artists get on board!!! The kids today have a lot of problems they are dying to not deal with.