Chain & the Gang, In Cool Blood (K)
Maybe it’s lazy to bring up Mary Weiss every time rock ’n roll has one of its epiphanies, although constant chain, Ian Svenonius, and newcoming gang member Katie Alice Greer are functioning together as the most with-it rendition of a girl group since 1964’s sand-walking “Remember.”
Svenonius, whose shriek has been melting lips and quivering other things — politically — since at least 1991, while his essays and style are in league with Camille Paglia’s if no one’s, is too busy gossiping back and fourth with Greer during his ever-changing Gang’s third LP to bother with his revolutionary propaganda. This doesn’t mean he’s given up whispering sweet somethings into your ear, but In Cool Blood presents its ponytailed listeners with the problem of who to give more attention to: Like, is this a Katie record; or an Ian record?
While Greer follows the women who dotted the group’s other LPs, previous dabs like “Unpronounceable Name” and “Bill for the Use of a Body” felt like unusually perfect accents to the rest whereas what’s happening now is, at least, equal time, or at most, someone else sliding off into his own margins.
The ladies sending their perfumed-splashed fan mail to Katie are citing a pair of lines from “Nuff Said” — Ian’s “I might not be around,” followed by Katie’s twice-repeated, and decidedly-agreed “Nuff said” — as all the argument they need in proving What’s Up. However, Ian’s heart-throbs’ response, an exegesis of the lyrics with careful focus upon “might,” are rumored to solidify their respective preference. While it’s still awaiting its final edits for publication in a stapled-together zine, those advocating for Greer are exploiting the delay and pointing out the group’s likewise new drummer, Fiona Campbell, insisting, “And there’s a Vivian Girl too, jeeze.”
This and that aside, In Cool Blood is a dip and pout to when rock ’n roll only needed grease, black, and rumbley bass to get everybody into trouble. While partisans are too busy fussing over who the chain holding the rest of the gang together properly is, everybody else, including the band itself, is totally excited to cram into a room together to get nasty and dancey with this already vintage batch of 13 songs.
With all of its emphasis on attitude, cattiness, and cool shoes, rather than merely giving a reminder about why Mary and her Las are still so perfect, Cool Blood is a record giving the opportunity to experience why they’ve remained like that for so many decades, and were ever such a big deal in the first place. And, recognizing this, members on either side of the Ian / Katie divide are quick to observe, “Well, seriously, looks who’s singing.”