Graham Reid | | 1 min read
On what has already been described as "one of the unlikeliest liaisons -- in a musical sense -- that you're ever likely to find" (John Brinkman, Groove Guide), Freaky Meat pull together ragged-edge performance poet (Shane Hollands) and a funk-rock rhythm section.
It's a debut album which will be something of a revelation for those who haven't heard similar predecessors in this sparsely populated genre where spoken word-meets-music (Rod Bridgman and David Eggleton among them).
As with many such spoken word projects (and rap when it comes to that), you sense the desperate need for an editor or at least someone to say, "What?"
How do we interpret lines like these in Lies, Lies and Bloody Lies? "We fake like child prodigies, the Pablo Picassos of untruth. I paint Surrealist landscapes to juxtapose my Cubist intent, it has nothing to do with you . . . ."
Yep, sometimes this is just saying stuff and filling out space/time before the wah-wah pedal or rock textures take over. And at times -- especially when Hollands has such an interesting Kiwi vernacular most of the time -- he adopts some John Cooper Clarke style or American enunciation. He's just finding his voice I guess.
But much of this is actually very interesting for a first outing and he unashamedly grounds himself in the local environment: Te Henga in Storm is a more considerred piece (musically and in its poetry): "I slice the golden river of sand rushing out to Te Henga's spume-driven sea and marvel at gulls fighting against an impossible westerly blow which lifts the raging stream up. I have lost an inch of my face I am sure, as I fight out the angry edge, wind-whipped sea from the chaos of ocean . . ."
Okay, he loses the earthy sensibility when he gets into "primordial creatures unseen by our eye-sight's sight-seeing, genomes and DNA minute", but that is just down to that necessary editing process.
Fear and Loathing Leaving Roto-Vegas (a title which encompasses at least three pop-culture references) opens with a grunty metallic power chord grind and gets off to a terrific start: "I was walking, I was dumb thumbing my way to Motueka and cursing because it was stormy brewing and all the jack-in-boxes are fresh out of Auckland and nobody was stpping for rides . . ."
And of course he is picked up by a beautiful angel in a convertible who rolls a spliff and then he references Hunter S Thomson and later Kerouac (of course). Yes, this is maybe referenced in others' styles and so forth, but that doesn't change the fact you hope Freaky Meat keep this project together for more.
Time will tell how this poet-meets-music thing works out for them (right now there's a bit of HLAH + Sam Hunt) but there's enough promise to make you hope it does.