You’re Class, I’m Trash – The Monsters (Voodoo Rhythm)
Two weeks to write, a fortnight to record - cynics would doubt both claims - and the eighth album from these Swiss lunatics is testament to what you can achieve when you set out to annoy the living shit out of audiences.
“You’re Class, I’m Trash” is unadulterated fuzz guitar abrasion, a boil on the arse of commercially safe and bland music, with occasional diversions into sonic weirdness. And it sounds fucking great.
As the accompanying media release helpfully explains there are just 120 words spanning these 13 songs. Yes, some of them don’t make sense. Neither do some of the songs; “Dead” switches from subsonic downstrokes to momentary lilting acoustic guitar and then back to thrash. And therein lies the strange beauty.
The Monsters are sonic terrorists although they deliver their suicide bombs with enough primitive musicality to ward off accusations of not being able to play. Behind the blather and smoke, this is one smart cookie of a record.
There are people who won’t touch anything released by The Monsters. You don’t want to know them. In spite of its raw and extreme approach, or maybe because of it, the band has carved out a sizeable niche, with hundreds of shows all over Europe and the USA and as far afield as Japan.
The elements are simple: Beat-Man’s rasp of a voice could kill a baby at 20-metres and the wall of distorted guitar that sits atop a take-no-prisoners bottom-end would force Julie Andrews to break wind – and follow through.
Most of the songs on “You’re Class, I’m Trash” are sub-two-minute explosions primed to rub your synapses the wrong way. “Car Pool” presages minor chord muscle with white noise dissonance. “Blasphemy” is full-tilt amphetamine boogie. “I Love You” is (predictably) the closest this record comes to a tender moment and (even more predictably) isn’t.
“Stranger To Me” puts the psycho into psychobilly with Janosh’s powerful bass runs driving it forward. “Yellow Snow Drink” is no more a Frank Zappa pastiche than a semi-acoustic tribute to suicide. “Get Drunk On You” and “Electro Bike Asshole” follow on its heels and flick the switch back to punk rock thrash.
The aforementioned “Dead” and “Dead (Mortem Batkovic)” are a pigeon pair; the former a ball-out fuzz rocker and the latter its horror movie soundtrack companion which, incidentally, signals a forthcoming soundtrack for director Mario Batkovic, who its title name-checks.
Ah, the frustrations of being unable to tour. If you want to try The Monsters this is as good as anywhere to start. It may be their most considered album to date and one of their best. If you have a vinyl fetish, it will be out on Sounds of Subterrania in an edition with a knitted wool cover (!) and by Slovenly with all songs sung in Schwitzerdutsch, the band’s native tongue.