Debut album from the Aussie house warblers...

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The Polyester Embassy

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The Polyester Embassy

Australia has never really been famed for its house acts. Hairy rockers, yes, pint sized pop princesses, certainly, and in recent years, according to Government statistics, approximately one crap covers band every ten miles. But big Australian house artists? Well there aren’t any, are there?

In an attempt to do something about this sorry state of affairs, Australian house guru Andy Van recruited singer-songwriter Cheyne ‘I’ll Get Me’ Coats to write some lyrics for the songs he was working on. Coats decided to stick around, and sings on most of the twelve numbers on ‘The Polyester Embassy’.

For a while it’s fantastic. If you can make it past the unspeakably pretentious spoken word introduction without putting your fist through the stereo, you’re rewarded with the monster singles ‘Who the Hell are You?’ and ‘Don’t Call me Baby’. Both rampage along on thunderous house rhythms, with barmy slap bass high in the mix and Coats strident voice barking orders. It’s blinding stuff and outrageously funky. You can almost hear the sort tray on the photocopier buckling and champagne corks zinging off the walls as it seems certain that ‘The Polyester Embassy’ is on its way to becoming the world’s greatest office party album … ever.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with office parties, the fun soon fades and monotony kicks in. On this occasion it’s Van‘s fault, as he sticks so rigidly to his winning formula that it becomes difficult to distinguish between one watered down version of the two singles and the next. ‘Everything you Need’ is the same but cheerier, ‘It’s Alright’ is the same but smuttier, ‘Do You Like What You See’ is, well, just the same.

Only ”78′ offers any real respite from the upbeat antics with a nicely chilled, end of the night piano motif. Sadly it’s a little too late to save the album. By the time it finally arrives your brain has already started to formulate its own upfront Aus-house stompers (for some reason ‘Did you Spill My Pint?’ still appeals) and you have no real need for Madison Avenue anymore.

It’s a shame. Perhaps this frustrating album is proof that you can have too much of a good thing.

Andrew Wagstaff