Archie Bronson Outfit

Derdang Derdang

(Domino; 2006)

By Alan Baban | 29 December 2007

Twenty puckered assholes crushed like mangos against the ramp -- if my memory serves me well, the peroxide bozo who had flagrantly disrupted Yo La Tengo’s set with requests for “MR. TOUGHHH!!” collapsed in a laughing sweat. The water cooler fountain had turned to steam; the Archie Bronson outfit executed coup after coup of bone vibrato, eschewing the Picnic and just plugging into the mainline. Those who bothered to turn up for their noontime Electric Picnic session in Dublin were treated to three south Londoners somehow evincing the embryonic murmur of Viking conquerors.

The question remains, though, whether the Outfit’s live whitewash can hop studio anaesthetics, whether debut Derdang Derdang can land the gavel with the same colossal, vitriolic thud that first drew Domino to sign Sam Windett and co. after an exec witnessed him and his two doppelgangers (neither of them named Archie) manifestly take down his local. The answer, quite obviously, is “no”: what this band needs is a microphone maestro on the order of, say, an Albini, instead of the deep-fried Southern crunch that leaves these eleven songs sounding thin and brittle, ultimately highlighting their clear melodic and structural similarities until what could have been a gut-punching EP becomes a substantial-but-marred LP.

That said, and even though they grossly frontload the record for the most part, the good songs that are here are irrepressible, they’re steamrollers, they reframe lesser, latter half cuts like “Jab Jab” and “How I Sang Dang” as the mere fallout to their clusterbomb bravado. “Cherry Lips” trips the fuse; it opens with Windett’s declamatory, adenoidal vocals languidly hanging onto the coattails of his band mate’s rollicking locomotive-step groove, part Stooges’ unbridled strut, part Palace Brothers’ dogmatic fervour. The same awesome trick is repeated for the insidious Kraut-like drive of “Dart for my Sweetheart” and “Got to Get (Your Eyes).” On the other hand, “Kink” is too burdened; its total meltdown of the traditional “no frills” melodic hook keep it from attaining the hit status of the other tracks that surround it.

Ultimately, there is enough great material here to keep a solid fanbase interested, and Derdang Derdang will no doubt attract new followers. The revolution, however, will have to wait: this recorded sound comes nowhere near their full-throttle potential; this album introduces the Archie Bronson Outfit minus their desensitising party trick; this collection disguises the fact that its better songs could swing like nooses on fire, titillating the tainted love of over-embellished Franz-a-likes if they were swimming a bit more left of the dial. The actual results simply leave this debut as a promising pamphlet manifesto, and not the Maenad-swarming rally cries their live show would have you expect.