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

Of course, we all thought [a]Beastie Boys[/a] were twats at the start. Crude, derivative, misogynistic, garish, goofy, dumbass jock twats. And then they went Buddhist and wrote [b]‘Paul’s Boutique’[/b] 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 [a]3OH!3[/a] 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.

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

If [b]‘Streets Of Gold’[/b]’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 [b]‘No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn’[/b], 3OH!3 expose their shameless pop ambitions by roping in [a]Ke$ha[/a] and [a]Katy Perry[/a], indulging in semi-sincere R&B segments censoring their own swears. There’s no lamer sound in ‘offensive’ pop than the blarts in [b]‘Touchin’ On My’[/b]: “[i]Touchin’ on my BLART/While I’m touching on your BLART[/i]”.

Micro-biologists working around the clock might discover a trace of maturity in [b]‘Deja Vu’[/b], 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 [b]‘Ill Communication’[/b], boys, and I take it all back…

[b]Mark Beaumont[/b]

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