The Slim Shady LP

Reef are [I]fick[/I]. That's pretty much all there is to it. [I]Fick[/I] as two short planks. Gawd bless 'em....

Reef are [I]fick[/I]. That’s pretty much all there is to it. [I]Fick[/I] as two short planks. Gawd bless ’em.

That’s [I]fick [/I]like [a]Slade[/a] were [I]fick[/I], and The Faces and like wot Ronnie still is wiv the Stones. As opposed to [I]thick[/I]. There is a difference. [I]Fick [/I]is a state of innocence where the whole world seems a little overcomplicated but, hey, why worry? Let’s rock. It is an accidentally Zen-like state of grace to be aspired to. Whereas [I]thick [/I]is just pig ignorance masquerading as bravura and can be easily acquired by taking too much cocaine.

Reef are so [I]fick[/I], in fact, that they’ve been in the studio with the no-bullshit meister George Drakoulias all this time without ever once noticing that they were making their second album, ‘Glow’, all over again and calling it ‘Rides’. Still, no matter. It does the business. And, hey, why change? Rock’s rock, right? You don’t find AC/DC hauling out the Sydney Philharmonic on too many occasions. And if it’s good enough for the ‘DC, it’s fucking well good enough for anyone. Right? Right!

Oh, Gary can come over all soulful and puppy dog-eyed when the weed takes him and I suppose you could say towards the end of this album that Reef get a little, er, deep for them, what with Beck‘s dad chucking in some string arrangements and there being some avant-jazzy saxes and oboes and such forth. And someone’s obviously told Gary that there are other singers out there apart from Rodgers and Robinson and Jagger so he’s gone and bought himself a Jeff Buckley CD and started, y’know, warbling a bit. But hey, that’s OK. It’s part of [I]fick[/I]’s job to have a crack and get it wrong. And then, y’know, grin like buggery. We all make arseholes of ourselves, right?

So, hey, forget it. Let’s rock. Gary wants a new bird. Gary‘s got somefink to say, which pretty much amounts to the fact that everything’s gonna be OK. Gary‘s car breaks down so he writes a song about it. Gary‘s trying to find his way home but somewhere along the line he’s been tortured and can’t seem to make it which, I guess, we can pretty much conclude is [I]not [/I]a considered comment on the Kosovan refugee situation. And anyway, Gary‘s too [I]fick [/I]for us to take his words that seriously. He even writes a song about it. It’s called ‘Sweetie’ and it’s all about how he fucks up in social situations because he can’t suss out what people are on about. That’s about as far as Gary wanders down the path of lyrical thought process. That and the line, “I think I preferred old Labour” in ‘Who You Are’. The “I think” bit helps it scan. Good lad.

But sod all that; c’mon feel the noise. ‘Back In My Place’ is a humdinger; as near to being AC/DC without actually being them as it’s possible to get which is pretty damn near heaven, I’m sure you’ll agree. And ‘Hiding’ sweeps along like Simon & Garfunkel in an open-topped motor on a summery day with Duane Allman in the back seat, sliding. And ‘Wandering’, for all the not being able to get home because he’s been tortured, finds Gary in fine growling form, his voice essentially an extra guitar in an already mighty barrage.

This is a band who recorded this album in LA so they could get a suntan. This is a band who rock. And if you like rock, you’ll like ‘Rides’. It does what it says on the tin.