Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This Escort Album is Worth It!

Their name is Legion.

Escort's Escort is on Escort Records. Can you think of any of any other eponymous albums on eponymous labels? Or is it homonymous? Either way? And why must this trivia question make me start singing "Bad Company"?

Some lines from my PopMatters review that I enjoyed writing:

When Escort does a song called “Cocaine Blues”, not only is it not a blues, it’s not really about cocaine. It’s about careening around the city, wired out of your mind, during a bygone era when cocaine was chic and abundant. Escort wouldn’t be caught dead doing meth—that’d be like playing a banjo solo.

“Makeover” resembles Kylie Minogue engaged in a funky hand jive battle with that sinister steampipe noise from Genesis’s “Tonight Tonight Tonight”.

Comparing these lyrics to Donna Summer’s vibrant and human persona, particularly on Bad Girls, is like reading a Harlequin romance after Anna Karenina.

Escort’s lyrics, one-dimensional caricatures of the disco life, are especially disappointing when compared to their music, which for all its references, sounds layered, assured, modern, and unconstrained by history. Take what’s maybe their best-known song, “All Through the Night”, a.k.a. “that YouTube video where the Muppets sing about freaking.” Lyrically, it’s standard do-it-all-night wish fulfillment, and apparently Balis and Cho haven’t read William Saffire’s open letter to R&B singers, “Sex Is Not a Verb”. But the song’s musical blend of Casio blips, Rick James synth shrieks, flute fills, and rapid-fire funk vocals sounds great. The instruments and voices weave contrapuntal polyrhythms that ebb and flow, creating unique musical structures. And the song does improve immensely, if you imagine Muppets singing it.

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