Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Easy Goings - Cigarettes

(Nuf Sed, 1992)

The Easy Goings are back for their second and last single, and they’re feelin’ especially cover-y this time around, bringing their beautiful magic to songs by the Beach Boys, Springsteen, and Black Flag. Much more in line with the obnoxious EZ-listening terror of the breakaway Zip Code Rapists than the comparatively tame first single, this record offers fans a smooth torch-passing to that group and its vicious dismantling of “hits” both real and alternate-universe. The demented cheerfulness of musical pep-talk “Life is For the Living” (“Don’t sit around on your ass / Smokin’ grass”) actually keeps quite close to Brian Wilson’s unreleased version, though the addition of John Singer’s noise-guitar and Turkington’s phlegmy bark puncture the unsettling bubble-world naivete of Wilson’s original with their self-consciousness. Still, it’s a typically inspired choice for a cover, and the band even went to the trouble of putting together a video to help this keyboardcheez-driven song on its way to the top of the charts; sure nuff, pairing the music with forehead LP-smashing and glass-cleaner consumption earns the vid the gold medal for Ultimate Easy Goings Thingy. And itself NO SLOUCH is “Born in the USA” (split over both sides of the single), here retaining its signature keyboard line while being otherwise destroyed by Turkington’s increasingly choked gargle/scream, which eventually degenerates into a subhuman bleating of “BORN!” “BORN!” “BORN!” over and over; a nearly perfect cover. Rollins gets it worst, though, as a pressed-at-the-wrong-speed “Scream” turns him into the bawling, pre-adolescent whiner you mighta suspected he was all along. “Boo-hoo” cries the band as the song fades, and “boo-hoo” cries the listener as the record ends. Even more than the previous Easy Goings disc, it’s a hop-to-it gotta-get.

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