Album review: 3OH!3 - 'Alive Till I'm Dead' (Virgin)

Fratboy duo scrape the bottom of a filth-encrusted barrel and emerge with neither shocks nor surprises

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Of course, we all thought Beastie Boys were twats at the start. Crude, derivative, misogynistic, garish, goofy, dumbass jock twats. And then they went Buddhist and wrote ‘Paul’s Boutique’ and ‘Sabotage’.

Puerile jock-pop can go either way, and it would be rash to presume either that Boulder, Colorado’s crude, derivative, misogynistic, garish, goofy, dumbass jock twats 3OH!3 are exactly as despicable as they seem or that they are, in fact, subversive geniuses sneaking into the mainstream disguised as cock-scratching, tongue-lolling, Spring Break fuckwits.

But, fuck it, let’s have a go.

3OH!3 are electro-hip-pop white bread American scum. They make Iglu & Hartly look like Nigel Havers unveiling a string quartet. “Excuse me miss but can I get you out your panties?” they coyly entreat on sleazy skipping song ‘My First Kiss’, like something out of Pride And Prejudice And Sex Pests.

If ‘Streets Of Gold’’s lyrics are unlikely to bother the Nobel committee, musically 3OH!3 are a boyband Pendulum: the threat of the latter tamed and glossed by the cash-hungry urge to be the former. Where the Beasties appropriated hard rock and hip-hop into ‘No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn’, 3OH!3 expose their shameless pop ambitions by roping in Ke$ha and Katy Perry, indulging in semi-sincere R&B segments censoring their own swears. There’s no lamer sound in ‘offensive’ pop than the blarts in ‘Touchin’ On My’: “Touchin’ on my BLART/While I’m touching on your BLART”.

Micro-biologists working around the clock might discover a trace of maturity in ‘Deja Vu’, a song dissecting the ritualised hedonistic ennui of Generation Par-taaay, albeit through the metaphors of drinking, fighting and BLARTing ho’s. I’m willing to be proved wrong. Make just one crunk ‘Ill Communication’, boys, and I take it all back…

Mark Beaumont

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