Monday, November 14, 2011

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Spacehog - Resident Alien

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

In many respects, if you were to call Spacehog's 1995 LP Resident Alien ridiculous, you'd be right. After all, the cover is a passport for an extraterrestrial pig (pardon me, hog), and certain song titles (let alone the songs themselves) crash through the barrier of over the topness. But we all know I wouldn't be writing about this record if there wasn't more to it than sheer silliness. There's quite a bit to love about Resident Alien, including but not limited to the heaping helpings of the aforementioned delightful daftness.

The record begins with the song that put Spacehog (only briefly, sadly) on the indie map - "In The Meantime." The song is drenched in David Bowie and Gary Numan, with spacey synths and plenty of cooing vocals. Main Spacehog singer Royston Langdon was never one for timid vocals, and "In The Meantime" allows his vocal flourishes to frolic unabashedly. This is one of those songs that has managed to stick with me over the years, in no small part thanks to how bloody catchy it is. "Spacehog" serves as a campy, country-spaced introduction to the band, and is somehow rather charming, in its own special way.

Musically, the album jumps all over the place and back again, with "Starside" serving as a somewhat gentle balladish moment, though still heavy on the space theme. "Love always gets in the way," bemoans Langdon, and I really couldn't agree more. Vocal theatrics abound, naturally. A favorite of mine has always been the raunchy, horribly gauche punkish ditty, "Space Is The Place." Gentle lambs among you might want to give this one a miss, as lyrical content contains such naughty gems as "And just because you kiss your brother/It doesn't mean to say you're gay/Cuz even when you're fucking him it doesn't mean you don't love me." Royston's brother Ant has the perfect vocal delivery, his tone full of casual nonchalance and roguish appeal. "Cruel To Be Kind" is Spacehog's ode to cock rock, big and affected and, well, silly. But there's some great bulky guitar to be had, and it's also a rather catchy little number.

In essence, Resident Alien is a sort of time capsule for the era of Britpop's last gasp. But it's a deceptive record, as well, as there's plenty more than meets the eye. Recommended especially for fans of too much.

m4a: In The Meantime (Spacehog from Resident Alien)

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