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Sun City Girls - Static From the Outside Set

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Artist: Sun City Girls

Album: Static From the Outside Set

Label: Abduction

Review date: Apr. 13, 2006

The Sun City Girls have been around for over two decades, but they didn’t make it to the United Kingdom until their appearance at Glasgow’s Instal 05 last October. It was a powerfully polarizing event. Whilst the Wire’s correspondents Bib Kopf and Chris Bohn admitted that the audience rapturously received the Girls, they begged to differ and excoriated the band on the grounds of incompetence and ethnic insensitivity. They would at least have known what to expect if they’d listened to the program on this CD, the fourteenth volume in the band’s Carnival Folklore Resurrection series. Originally broadcast four months before the festival by On The Wire Radio Lancashire, it’s a fairly representative hour-long survey of the SCGs’ repertoire.

Note that I don’t say high quality; excellence is just one of a variety of bullets stuffed into the trio’s ammunition belt. While capable of moments of jaw-dropping brilliance, they’re equally willing to foist appallingly bad performances upon their paying customers; whether you consider this evidence of genius, charlatanism, or both indicates where you lie on their fan-o-meter. I’m in the middle, quite ready to go along for the ride, but inclined to hold my nose and duck when they start slinging bullshit. Static From the Outside Set has its share of stinkers; a grueling cornball tilt at the Beach Boys’ “Summer Dream,” several typically lackluster free-rock-improv excursions, and “Lester’s Dictionary,” an interminable bit of beatnik-flavored conspiracy mongering. At the other end are the lovely and apparently un-ironic Asiatic forgery “Blanket’s Mirage,” the stirring heathen processional “Bacchanalia,” and a Richard Bishop guitar showcase aptly named “Django-ized.” In between you’ll find some pornographic calypso, gamelan country and western, cruelly comic radio collages, and plenty more paranoid plot-spinning that not so subtly congratulates the listener for having not yet been “roped in by the dark malevolent forces masquerading as your governmental, religious and social institutions.”

There are tons of Sun City Girls records floating around, and plenty more on the way; do you need this one? If you have to ask, probably not, although you can always sit on it ’til it goes out of print and then get your money back on eBay. If you appreciate the Girls’ more dramatic side, this’ll tickle your funny bone. But if you haven’t heard them before, get 330,003 Crossdressers from Beyond the Rig Veda first, and then proceed with caution.

By Bill Meyer

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