Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rah Bras "EPs" (Lovitt)

Describing The Rah Bras* is pretty hard work. Not as hard as it was 10 years-or-so ago when the majority of this compilation came out. That they share a member with fellow bafflers of the era Men's Recovery Project doesn't really help in that "ex-members-of" way that usually works when words run thin on the ground.
They share a similar scattershot approach to MRP that's often genuinely hilarious but unlike a lot of bands from the past few years who have a schtick (usually a costume) that's maybe worth a couple of singles and some gigs, Rah Bras seem to draw from a bottomless pit of influences that make their records genuinely good listening. I say "good", I mean "scary", "funny", "catchy", "confusing" and "mucky".
The best way of describing them would be to say listening to one of their records is a bit like waking up nude, stuck in the middle of the road with hundreds of cars speeding past as you try and get your bearings . The cars' stereos are all on and music pours out as they pass and you hear pop music colliding with punk rock and R&B and Bollywood themes and Eastern European Disco and everything in between. It's terrifying. But exhilarating too. And kind of sexy. Or at least sexual.
I saw them play what ranks as one of the more bizarre gig experiences of my life when they opened for Hirameka Hi-Fi in Notting Hill in 2001. Aurally they were a powerhouse dance band. Visually they were something akin to this scene from Blue Velvet but set to music that sounds like this. I needed disinfecting afterwards.
This CD collects together the 3 EPs Concentrate To Listen To The Rondo That We Christen King Speed, Wear The Beat Spectacular and Nipponoppin.
If the classic The Fifth Allen and the emotionally raw Tokyo Bus Stop were the only 2 tracks on this CD it would still be worth the money. Instead it's an essential buy and a good reminder of when "weird" meant something different to "funny hat".

Buy it from Lovitt Records
Watch this You Tube clip

*"A RAH BRA is a fankini. A fankini is a festive floral bikini accessory worn over shirts or coats. The Rah Bra is a great way to strut your spirit."

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