It's not often I'm stumped for words; most people who know me will tell you I have a smart answer for most situations or events. Not so when I played the item here for review, namely Your Vagina Is Sublime by fellow Brit Glenn Mauchline.
OK, let try to sum up my view of this album and progress from there:
I just don't get it.
I don't know if that makes me a musical troglodyte, but I just don't see where this collection of songs is going, where it's coming from or what the artist trying to do. Hailing from the South-West of England, Glenn Mauchline's stated influences range from Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones, Guided By Voices, Marcel Duchamp (wasn't he a horse-jockey?), and 1920s Sapphic Hollywood.
So…not pretentious at all, then.
Mr Mauchline's own comment on Your Vagina Is Sublime is that it's "a detached and sexy record". Hmm…certainly it's completely broken its moorings and drifts unguided by any helm away from reality.
Track one, Lonely Woman, is (according to the press release) "a true story of a pesky woman" who wouldn't leave Mauchline alone. Very lo-fi with tremeloed guitars and Mauchline's Matt Johnson-esque vocal, the whole "story" revolves around her following him until it got so bad that he had to leave town. The best feature of this song is that it lasts for just under one minute and twenty seconds.
Hot on the heels of this is I Invented Hip-Hop. Mauchline's own comment on this song is "not to ask him what it's about". Doesn't leave me much of a chance, then, does it? Think Fun Lovin' Criminals minus the wit and talent with distorted nonsensical vocals and you have it. Really. And no real reference to hip-hop either. But, if there had been, I really would have had to hunt him down and destroy him there and then. "There's an element of lunacy there" he says in the press release. This is somewhat akin to those people who hang signs in their workplace which read 'You don't have to be crazy to work here – but it helps!"
You get the picture.
Track three, What Time Was That? should and could be re-titled What Crap Was That? I beg your forgiveness, gentle reader, for sinking to using the vernacular, but Lordy-dordy and the saints…24 carat Mary J Bilge. Not even Mauchline cares to comment on it in the press blurb. Small wonder.
Tracks four and five are, according to Mauchline, "closely linked. I put myself in the position of an eccentric lottery winner combined with certain traits from the main characters in Against Nature by J K Huysmans and The Hermit by Eugene Ionesco." I'm glad he cleared that up. Without that piece of illumination, I might well have made some flippant and derogatory comment about thin-sounding guitars, vocals with an early teenage attempt at a southern American drawl, followed by random guitar noises through an echo-box with random words overdubbed/shouted/screamed through the same effects box.
I hope all non-British readers will understand my sentiment when I describe this as utter bollocks.
The final cut here is A Message For David/Stephen, which I cannot comment on due to losing the will to live after track three. You see, these people have us in a Catch-22 situation, my friends. They feel free to pump out meaningless drivel like this, whilst dressing it up in some sort of pseudo-intellectual clothing. "You don't like it? You're a moron!" is the attitude. Then, those who do not wish to appear foolish begin to babble on about hidden or deep meanings: "actually, I quite like it…I can feel the influence of Duchamp in the work and it's all quite liberating…pass the Doritos, would you?". This then feeds the machine which pumps this garbage out in the first place and on we go, etcetera and ad nauseum.
In the final analysis, I don't believe I'm a troglodyte, musically or otherwise. I also don't believe that Glenn Mauchline really expected any different reaction from reviewers to the one given here. Whether the lambasting I've just dished out has made him laugh or outraged is irrelevant. The twenty minutes I spent listening to Your Vagina Is Sublime (forty minutes actually…I listened to it twice) is time I'll never get back, and may have been better spent thrashing myself with hawthorn branches or gouging my own eyes out with a rusty teaspoon.
I gave the piece a rating of one sponge because I don't think I can give it a zero, which is what it deserves. Your Vagina Is Sublime makes Mt Gigantic's Old Smiler album sound like OK Computer, so dire is it.
Excuse me…I must now weep quietly in a corner somewhere.