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THE GREAT WHITE CHOCOLATE DEBATE: HEAT 1
:: Extinguish Her :: Narcissus :: Made In China :: The Remote Control :: Pink Fluffy Cloud Machine ::
26 March 2003 / Jabez Clegg / Manchester
By Dave Himelfield

With my head still pounding from a migraine incurred at a recent Battle of the Bands, I was not looking forward to being once again caught in another musically incompetent exchange of friendly fire.

Thankfully any prospect of another aural haemorrhage was soon clotted by Pink Fluffy Cloud Machine. There’s no denying their musical ineptitude but it’s the kind of glorious clumsiness that made the likes of The Buzzcocks and indeed B-Fab UK so quaintly refreshing. Their trashy, hillbilly punk homage to Paolo di Canio (think of The Zutons being molested by The Ramones) is an aptly light-hearted analgesic that could have only sprouted from the banks of the Mersey.

This particular Narcissus paradoxically hasn’t been looking in the mirror too often and subsequently sports a rather incongruous image. Two members of the band wouldn’t look out of place in Marilyn Manson, whereas the guitarist seems to have been unceremoniously ejected from The Strokes laundry van. The sound is fortunately a more consistent blend. Occasional wry keyboard prodding brightens up what is essentially unmemorable but heartfelt goth-rock.

Not everything Made In China is cheap and flimsy. This is a particularly sharp shard of spleen-renting indie rock from the distillery of Belly and Throwing Muses. The rhythms are satisfyingly offset, the guitars are agitatedly angular and the vocals are delivered with some piercing PJ Harvey power. With a more robust frame and a touch more bravado Made In China could become something quiet solidly built.

Extinguish Her possess an exceptional frontwoman. She hollers. She purrs. She growls. She cracks distasteful jokes about well-sheared shrubs. All with more balls than a Christmas tree. It’s disappointing then that the tunes lack the power and personality necessary to substantiate her musically.

For anyone with more than a modicum of cynicism The Remote Control are going to be a tad uncomfortable to swallow. While their approach is intermittently unconventional with dirty Timmy C. (RATM) basslines and animated violin passages, their brand of well-intended funk-rock always seems to land behind MOR lines. Despite some clever arrangements and flawless harmonies their set concludes in somewhat schmaltzy stadium fashion with a “meet the band” segment that had a rather sardonic reviewer stretching for the mute button.

Unfortunately due to the overrunning of events I was unable to catch R. Moses or the result. A big thanks to V-Man for putting on a superior BOTB


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