Cliff Jones' grand scheme works. Almost.
Are you ready for THE TRUTH, Britain? Think you can handle a GREAT BIG WAD OF TRUTH? Well you better switch off the Moron Channel, log off the interdeath, shake the lies from your eyes, daddio, and hear the word of the Dad. ‘TECHNOLOGY CANNOT BE ADVANCED THERE IS NO PROGRESS NO ONE?S LISTENING GOD IS THE MYSTERY AT THE END OF SCIENCE MONEY IS NEVER OUT OF FASHION DENIM IS JUST ANOTHER UNIFORM COOL IS JUST CONSENSUS WE ARE ALL HERDED BY TV PARTY POLITICS’ NGGGGGG!
Phew, if your sheeplike brains haven’t melted into a fetid soup of utter ignorance from exposure to this snippet of factopocalypse from the sleevenotes toGay Dad‘s second album ‘Transmission’ you’ll have worked out that Cliff Jones has spent much of the two years since the disintegration of the hype and the down-structuring of his band becoming an avatar to social disruptionness and developing a brain like the Times Square dot matrix. The man got so much to say it must feel like there’s a Late Review Special from the Ardoyne Road being filmed in his head.
Shame he didn’t put as much thought into the music. That burst of stream-of-consciousness psychobabble clearly went ‘KEEP BASHING OUT THE GLAM NONSENSE IT’S BOUND TO BECOME FASHIONABLE AGAIN STEAL SUEDE’S LYRICS AND GUITARS NO MUSIC IS NEW SO WHY BOTHER WHEN IN DOUBT BUNG MORE T REX ON IT IF YOU CAN’T SING IMPERSONATE SUPERGRASS THE BLACK CROWES MAY HAVE SOMETHING OF A POINT WILL THIS DO WILL THIS DO WILL THIS DO’. Gay Dad in 2001 find themselves in the bizarre situation of being written off as the year before last year’s thing by the masses while, for the faithful few, nothing but a nailbomb in the face of the zeitgeist will do.
‘Transmission’ flaps manfully between the two. The pruning of the line-up seems to have lopped off the noodling prog annoyances of Leisurenoise but there’s still enough of a whiff of Kula Shaker about the likes of ‘Harder Faster’ and ‘Keep It Heavy’ to keep the Radioheadfans sneering into their Naomi Klein anthologies. And for the expectant disciples the tally reads thus – All-Out Classic Pop Anthems: 1 (‘Plane Going Down’, which resembles a plane going down with ELO strapped to the wings); Passable Tunes Made Nifty By Hitting Them With The Electro Stick: 4 (‘Dinosaur’, ‘Shoot Freak’, ‘Transmission’ and ‘Now Always And Forever’); and Stylistic Experiments Gone Decidedly Tits Up: 2 (‘Nightclub’ and ‘Promise Of A Miracle’ which want to be Nectarine No 9 in space).
Cliff Jones’s birth could probably have been accused of style over content but it’s on ‘Transmission’ that his shallowness really shines; the ideology, big shiny guitars and o’er-vaulting ambition to be the Last Great Pop Stars are all proudly in yer face but the tunes – how can we put this? – verge too often on the bollocks. Give Cliff a soapbox and he wants to be Karl Marx wrestling Tom Paulin. Give him a recording studio and he wants to be Smashing Pumpkins but a bit more squonky. One psycho-soundbite you forgot, Cliff: IF YOU’RE GONNA SHOUT LOUD YOU’D BETTER BE WORTH SHOUTING ABOUT.