Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bark Bark bark

I really dislike Malcolm McLaren. He's despicable, vile, and most importantly a manipulative greedy bastard. He was fake. He manufactured images for monetary profit. He valued integrity less than the money from last week's paycheque (I didn't get one). He was a businessman and capitalist, not an independent artistic producer. He destroyed punk's primary values in the way he ran the Sex Pistols.

When you allow the shroud of controversy to clear though, he's quite an impressive man. Following the Sex Pistols bust-up, he put his guile to use and took on a new project. Bow Wow Wow was formed out of a defunct Adam & The Ants (defunct because of McLaren's doing, which isn't surprising I suppose). He carefully created one of the most original and fun groups in post-punk. Not to mention an extremely unlikely cast pairing.

BWW's debut was the amusingly titled See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!, released in October 1981. Its bass and percussion runs wild. The album is raw, seemingly untouched and unstained by impurities. Looking beyond the surface reveals the bizzareness of the lyrics, song content, and Annabella Lwin's vocal stylings. The backbone of their sound (in the beggining) is tribal, yet the vocals (apart from the chanting) and guitar don't fit with it. Songs about televisions and such, it really was a fascinatining experiment - transplanting African sounds and rhythms to the West and mixing it with new-wave. I almost feel like I'm listening to Dexy's Midnight Runners when 'Jungle Boy' comes on. Certainly they did turn to simple synth-pop in time, but for a short while they were unique and progressively brilliant amongst their contemporaries.

However sarcastic it was meant to be, one line that struck me as odd, in 'Chihuahua', is "I'm a Rock 'N Roll puppet, in a band called Bow Wow Wow." Given McLaren's reputation, and having Lwin pose (at only 15) for See Jungle!, I'd be willing to bet there's more truth to it than originally believed.

Bow Wow Wow - Jungle Boy [mp3] [buy]
Bow Wow Wow - Chihuahua [mp3]
Bow Wow Wow - (I'm A) TV Savage [mp3]
Bow Wow Wow - Golly! Golly! Go Buddy! [mp3]


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