Leg Puppy are no strangers to the virtual pages of Joyzine and we’ve always been keen fans of their dance music from the dark side and I’ve described them before as George Orwell’s house band. Their new album Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway once again mines the seamy underbelly of modern life.
‘Always ask Mummy’ is the album’s overture with electronic washes mixed in with various audio clips including a music box version ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ and the title which comes from the Tufty public information films. Suitably unsettled we move into the military beat of ‘Special Kind of Girl’ which takes its inspiration from the pages of Chat Magazine. Previous single ‘Warm Leatherette’ was written in 1978 by Daniel Miller (as The Normal) and inspired by J.G. Ballard’s novel Crash (but mostly it’s known for the Grace Jones cover in 1980) but this version is closer to Miller’s original dystopian/industrial feel from the early days of electronic music.
For me the album’s standout tracks are ‘Nico and the Art Junkies’ featuring Eirēnē (who is also on the swirling and propulsive track ‘Green Room’) which focuses on the last few years of Nico’s life feels like a dive bar Motown track, and ‘Dream Pop Hero’ featuring Vaat Dafuq about “a desperate wannabe pop star who goes viral for all then wrong reasons”. This sounds like the tipping point when Joy Division were just about to become New Order but filtered through the nightclubs of 1980s Berlin.
Never ones to court tradition the album doesn’t close with bangers but with the pulsating ambient track ‘Turn out the Lights’ featuring eerie backwards vocals followed by the epic ten minute track ‘Johnny Pigman’ with lyrics written by poet Kerry Coburn. It’s a gritty mixture of electronic mini-opera and performance art and if Andrew Lloyd Webber can stretch ‘Joseph…’ out into a full musical then someone should be developing this track into a disturbing off-West End production.
Leg Puppy are no strangers to shining their black light on modern culture in order to illuminate the invisible nastiness clinging to its shiny artifice. However, they show you the bad so you can aim to do good and, as the title advises, feel the fear and do it anyway.
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Review by Paul F Cook
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