As the wind blew up Marilyn Monroe’s white cocktail dress in The Seven Year Itch in 1955, I don’t think she would ever have imagined that some French ne’er-do-wells would be carrying her legacy via a feedback of fuzzy garage blues guitars in the future. But the future it is, and The Norma Jean Baker’s Underwears have got Panties on their mind, naturally.
Do You Copy? comes out of the traps with a 20 second blast of Brainiac trying to tune in a CB radio with a distorted guitar, and things are already getting fucked up. As Kiss Me (Kiss Me) follows, we’re headlong into the madcap off-key delights favoured by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, complete with vocals that sound like Lux Interior has caught his balls in the zip of his PVC slacks.
Whilst The Sound Of and (I Was) Drunk! have echoes of The Dirtbombs, things are intercut with instrumental tomfoolery. Yeah Yeah is the soundtrack to a two minute horror movie chainsaw chase scene, whilst Average Sex is just that; a 15 second noise attack that replicates two jerks and a squirt.
Concluding Side A is Rifle Bob, with a cheeky riff rip from the MC5’s Kick Out The Jams. I never see this sort of thing as theft; the greats have all been written so let’s just say it’s a homage.
As Side B opens with the Welcome, it’s more of the unwelcoming same. Hang Me High feels like an ace continuation of Peaches and Iggy Pop’s Kick It, and Still Drunk sounds like you’re trying to pass a difficult black stool after a night on the Guinness.
Lo-fi badness continues with a Stooges-esque wig-out on the aptly named No Fun House, and if you haven’t had enough, the 30 second closing refrain of album ender Haircut (That’s What I Need) leaves you with a 30 second blast of punk rock.
Fans of The Black Keys may wanna look away now, as Panties is one hell of rollercoaster ride of an album that takes the bluesy garage rock genre to the extreme. It’s less Candle in the Wind and more, “let’s blow the whole thing up!” Too bad if you have a faint heart, because Some Like It Hot. Ginge Knievil
Check out The Norma Jean Baker’s Underwears here