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Need New Body | s/t (Pickled Egg)
During the gestation of 'Trout Mask Replica', Captain Beefheart saw fit to all but imprison the assorted Magic Band oddbods as they collectively hammered away at what would become their disjointed magnum opus. The altered states of those concerned aside, it's interesting to observe that music of such lost-the-plot proportions was not arrived at without its share of blood, sweat and tears. When a work is so apparently erratic and unconstrained by the nominal ideas of listenability it's too easy to parcel the results up as the product of perverse whimsy or inspired accident. Such a conclusion would sell short the head-spinning collage of Need New Body's eponymous 22-track kaleidoscope as it slurs and blurs its way between indie-rock instrumental, joujouka-like drones, piano ballad, sloppy jazz, spoken word, oriental percussion, avant-noise frippery and electro-pop. It's a stylistic shopping list that could go on and on ad nauseum, as Need New Body keep all bases covered with a bold communal hyperactivity, without ever reverting to gratuitous channel-surfing. Sure, such quicksilver sequencing and light-fingered appropriation is nothing particularly new, but rarely has it sounded such a blast. Or - feat of editing notwithstanding - sounded less like it was manufactured from behind the mixing desk (the waters of musical authenticity being admittedly muddied at best). But here the schizophrenic stew is achieved without veering too far from this being a record in the old time sense of the word: a record of people making music in a specific time and place. Fleetingly resembling an audio art construction, this is possibly not the ideal jumping off point if it's crafted songwriting you're after. But in a marketplace where we're being sold quiet as the new loud, where the aural teat of those 'chill out' compilations is the order of the day, the erratic and unconstrained noise of Need New Body is a teeming, exuberant antidote.

Martin Williams
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002

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