There’s a noise on opening track ‘Leave Home’ that goes “NNNNNNRRRWHUMP. NRRRRRWHUMP’. It is exactly the noise of coming up.
Ridiculously bug-eyed intensity on the first half of the album gradually winds down into the early-hours melancholy serenity of ‘Alive Alone’, perfectly the sound of finally staggering home, tired but happy in a morning that looks impossibly bright and beautiful...
Riding out a mess of cocaine abuse and intra-band groping, the Mac were so high that they thought it would be a good idea to name an album after their drummer’s slang for his nob.
So weed makes you lazy and depressed, does it? Try telling that to Snoop Doggy Dog (as he was called back then). He smokes shitloads, and couldn’t be happier.
Here he is, extolling the virtues of his “fat dick”, pumping “slugs dead in your chest” and quite horrible-sounding group sex: “It ain’t no fun, if the homies can’t have none”. His true love is, of course, the chronic.
OK, so we detune a couple of guitars and lean them against these massive amps so that the feedback moves the strings and the guitars literally play themselves and that turns out over an hour of deafening electronic noise that’ll be lauded as classical music alongside Beethoven and Stockhausen and invent industrial rock and My Bloody Valentine and not just sound like two angry space stations fucking, I...
The amount of LSD imbibed by Butthole figurehead Gibby Haynes reputedly made him an utter nightmare.
It also helped to fuel this album, also an utter nightmare.
The album that spawned ‘White Rabbit’ – the 159th counter-cultural love-poem to Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, and the song that made generations yearn to throw the TV in the bathtub just as it peaked.
Altogether now: “One pill makes you larger…”
Student party staple ‘Got Your Money’ notwithstanding, the second ODB album is primarily constructed from the late Wu-Tanger’s unhinged freeform rants.
And his arrest for possession around this time rather tells its own story.
Identifying a drug-free Spacemen 3 album would be the real challenge, but this collection of early demos finds Peter ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember and Jason Pierce employing psychedelia and repetition with the focus of one who lives outside that conformist straightjacket of, like, knowing what day it is and stuff.
The Heartbreakers were so fond of smack that they sung about it, and got Sid Vicious hooked on it. When Thunders finally OD’d he was so contorted that he looked “like a pretzel”, apparently.
Considering that Bowie spent the run-up to writing this coked-to-the-point-of-psychosis in Los Angeles, not sleeping for six days at a time, eating only red and green peppers and milk and filming the alienated sci-fi masterpiece The Man Who Fell To Earth, it’s not surprising that it sounds whacked.
Cold, ambitious and disconnected, it’s a fascinating, psychotically deep album, with much to be read...