Julian Cope’s Album of the Month

Gunslingers - No More Invention

No More Invention

AOTM #99, August 2008ce
Released 2008 on World In Sound
  1. Into the Garage (2.20)
  2. Light Slinger Festival (12.50)
  3. King Yaya’s Forty Guns (2.48)
  4. San Pedro Hallucination (2.50)
  5. The Beheaded Motorbiker’s Head (2.02)
  6. Black Dwarf Man (4.03)
  7. Gigolo Albinos (3.51)
  8. Auschwitz Boogie (2.52)
  9. The Minister’s Black Veil (3.01)

Note: My first confrontation with Gunslingers leader Gregory Raimo occurred last August 2007CE, when I reviewed his 12” EP XPERIMENT FROM WITHIN THE TENTACULAR. Released under the spewdonym GR, the ruminations of Raimo’s six-string razor therein were slightly tempered both by lack of other band members and a studio technique that reeked of THE FAUST TAPES. In other words, it was damned wonderful. Well, now Raimo’s back, he’s armed with a power trio, and he’s pointing that Blakean Cerberus straight at us. Uh, Look out!

‘You wanna suicide in your room, you wanna suicide in your car… ‘

In a systematic act of alchemy clearly designed to upstage in one fell swoop every budding Asahito Nanjo, every rising Kawabata Makoto, every post-Reck and neo-Keiji Heino, nay, every occidental Japrock wannabe combined, French super freak and guitar mangler Gregory Raimo has – with this solitary Gunslingers album release – put to shame each’n’every proto-metal musician across this lickle planet with a spiteful racket so accursedly evil, so mischievously demonic, so gurningly and grinningly piss-taking that barbarians across the globe (myself included, natch) can only drool in disbelief and green-eyed envy. For NO MORE INVENTION is nothing less than the sum total of every move culled from every essential No Wave, Post Punk, Free Rock statement thus far spewed forth onto vinyl and CD. Indeed, being simultaneously post-Beachnuts, post-Primitives, post-Armand Schaubroeuk’s Churchmice, post-Voidoids, post-Teenage Jesus, post-Dr Mix & the Re-Mix, post-White Heaven AND being in possession of a killer rhythm section who understand his singular metaphor, Gunslinger leader Gregory Raimo suddenly finds himself in the enviable position of the Ur Underground’s Man of the Year! Yup, kiddies, there’ll be no sleep tonight for the High Art inhabitants of lofts, warehouses and basements of Detroit, Manchester, Manhattan, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Nagoya, Long Island City and their ilk. Instead, every True Genius of the distorted electric guitar will have now been goaded into action, and obligated to break out the black coffee, the Red Bull, the sugary teen drinks, the ephedrine, hell, even those amber chunks of raw amphetamine that mad Uncle Tony left behind when last he descended upon the household to make one of his inimitably sweaty veggie curries; all & everything will be appropriated in Rockaholics Anonymous’ collective quest to top Gunslingers’ incredible Maelstrom unleashed on NO MORE INVENTION. That good? Uh huh, THAT good… It’s everywhere and nowhere, bay-bee, and (ahem) it’s French… Alpine French! From Grenoble, no less, and I ain’t taking the piste! I know, you know, we ALL know the French might not know how to rock’n’roll 99.999999% of the time. But when they get it right, boy, does it smoke pole! And, like existentialist hero Albert Camus’ bizarre death in the back seat of a massively expensive Facel Vega HK550 supercar, Gunslingers’ NO MORE INVENTION is a raging and fumingly Gallic summation of all things Righteous, Nihilistic and Stylishly Paradoxical simultaneously. For a start, its tumbling and stumbling rhythmical idiocy should be the last sound a body requires just before bedtime; nevertheless it’s become my preferred method of meditation these past coupla weeks. Moreover, as the father of teenage daughters who regularly lambaste themselves with 250 mph riff pile-ups, I was nevertheless shocked to hear 14-year-old Avalon describing NO MORE INVENTION to her 16-year-old sister Albany as ‘Music of the Devil’. Sheesh! What truly Occult goings on must be genuinely occurring within the micro-folds of this record for such descriptions to be happening naturally between teenagers who rarely express anything less than Total Ennui when confronted by my own preferred choice of listening? And you know me well enough by now to understand that this Odinist Heathen Motherfucker ascribes N U T H I N’ to the Devil, unless it’s music borne of a Voodoo so unearthly, so off kilter and so reaking with post-Christian Damage that its purveyors could only have intended such results. Well, so it is with NO MORE INVENTION, kiddies. For this Gunslingers disc rages with references to Lucifer in much the same manner as our beloved Blue Öyster Cult chose to do throughout their career. Herein, Lucifer is not only invoked as the beautiful Keltic Godman we enlightened types have come to accept, but also as the still-evil Crosstian Opposer of all things good. And, contained in that mysterious netherworld doorway, the music of Gunslingers rages and rails against EVERYTHING (positive AND negative), one moment surging forth soul sparks of life upwards into the heavens, the next moment shifting direction furiously and drilling into the very crust of the earth with all the Gay Abandon of a MacAlpine’s earthmover. Pragmatic Motherfuckers these guys ain’t, children. They commence their debut LP with the two-minute-hate of ‘Into The Garage’ then jettison all reason by following it with the record’s longest piece, the apocalyptically Cunted (and Lucifer dedicated) genius of ‘Light Slinger Festival’. Thereafter, separating each successive song from the next is as futile as time-shifting back to the ‘70s and attempting to point out Billy Bremner’s shorts as they spun around in the Leeds United washing-machine. We’re talking Total White-Out, ladies’n’gentlemen; the kind of swirling snowblindness only Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition could have imagined. And what does it sound like? Well, as the aforementioned ‘Light Slinger Festival’ is the Mother of All Fuckers and the longest track on the disc, let’s first address this one track and establish 1) why its contents are so damned essential, and 2) how we Jonesing Wannabes can make one of our own just like it. Here goes. First, score yourself a copy of the late Love double-LP OUT HERE, and remove the near-12-minute Amphetamine Fussy guitar burn-up of Arthurly’s ‘Love is More Than Words (or Better Late Than Never)’ from side three. Next, ruthlessly excise that track’s soft outer covering (ie: the bit called ‘the song’), then place the rest (i.e.: Gary Rowles’ viciously and heroically inspired dragster-on-a-skidpan axe worship) in a shallow wok and baste that hi-cal sucker until the spitting fat is showering all and sundry. Next, reduce the insane results to a sickeningly rich broth and decant said broth into a large syringe. Finally, inject the whole sticky mess up the puckered ass of the current Indie Scene and STAND WELL BACK !!! With 20/20 hindsight, of course, Gregory Raimo’s methods of navigation could not have been more obvious. For Raimo has, in ultra-simplistic terms, merely excavated his way through the path of least resistance, skirting around anything too ‘too too’ to put a finger on, and thusly skateboarded down Free Rock’s main street, appropriating everything labelled ‘iconic’, ‘moronic’ or ‘Property of Sonic Youth’. But Raimo’s True Genius lies in his incredible self-confidence, his Greed (nay, his NEED) and his determination to render so many of these Public things his own, that – in an act of Cultural Kleptomania somewhat akin to TS Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’ – the Stellar Moments of All Guitar Jizz are – from this Year Zero Onwards - ALL HIS!!! You can almost hear this Grenoble Savage screaming: “Robert Quine? He’s Mine!” as he slams a dog-eared copy of Richard Hell’s BLANK GENERATION Stiff 7” into his travelling bag, carefully wedging it in alongside all the other essential & inevitable spiky detritus; Friction’s LIVE ’79 album (especially ‘Big-S’) giving Reck’s vocal blueprint for rendering J. Rotten’s ‘Bodies’-vocal style entirely one’s own, High Rise’s SPEED FREE SONIC and HIGH RISE 2 for the production (non) values, the Reed Brothers’ ‘Upside Down’ 45 (but played at 78 for the rush & roar), Metal Urbain’s tinnitus epic ‘Paris Maquis’ 7” for the disorientating shock value that a 6/4 riff can bring to buzzsaw punk rock (heart-stopping time signature changes pervade this Gunslingers release), Chaingang’s ‘Son of Sam’ 45, Tom Verlaine & Richard Hell’s 1974 Neon Boys’ single ‘That’s All I Know Right Now’, and all topped off by the Velvet Underground’s ‘I Heard Her Call My Name’ (to be deployed as Raimo’s evidence to Gunslingers’ hapless drummer that it’s okay for his incredible playing to have been rendered almost entirely inaudible for the entire duration of the proceedings). That Gunslingers have achieved all of their distillations in just nine songs and in under 37 minutes infers that the magickal and mystical qualities of many early AC/DC and Van Halen LPs may not have been merely accidents or coincidences; perhaps they were truly Gnostic rock’n’roll devices. So do please listen with reverence and care to this Album of the Month and try to find the time to sink deep deep down into its ether. For, despite the ironical title, NO MORE INVENTION seethes, rages and constantly hollers out great eternal Druidical truths (and with such effortless style) that future record libraries without a copy of this LP will risk being declassified and shut down instantly. Of course, I’ll now be forced to conclude this review with the one single (time honoured) word that befits such a glamorous & clamorous art statement…

… Yowzah!