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The Piranhas - Erotic Grit Movies

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Artist: The Piranhas

Album: Erotic Grit Movies

Label: In the Red

Review date: Mar. 25, 2003

Pure Will, Without the Burden of Intellect


For bands such as The Piranhas, Raw Power ain’t an album, it’s a lifestyle. The instruments flail about in their own fits of rage, occasionally pursuing the same goals by nature more than design. Meanwhile, a drunk, horny, and possibly very, very stupid street preacher screams, snarls unintelligibly and, from the sound of it, falls into the drum kit more than once. But Erotic Grit Movies is a tremendous thrill to hear. I wouldn’t have thought this much negative energy could fit inside a half-hour, or that, after a million repackagings and insulting, Vegas-bound parodies from the likes of Jon Spencer, anyone would bother to funnel so much pure passion into this sort of rudimentary rock ‘n’ roll.

Lyric sample: “Oh dear / C’mere / Ya look weird / [unintelligible].”

May Allah protect the poor douche who has to “work this to radio.” There’s nothing here for Flaming Lips or DJ Shadow fans. Or for anyone that hears “garage” and thinks of the Streets. This is pure trash, pure anger, too pure for all but the 5 percent. Don’t take that as a challenge: If this isn’t your thing, it’ll likely piss you off and bore you to tears.

It could also save your soft, flabby soul.

What the fuck? Is that a sax on “I Am Machine”?

A lot of ‘60s garage rockers were serious about making a few bucks to propel them out of the blue collar grind, playing it tight and catchy and relying on tested covers if that’s what it took to pocket a day’s ends. The Piranhas are driven by no less of a mandate, but it’s a spiritual one. They represent those of us that grew up getting pumped full of noise, chaos and distraction (including the calling-card hits of the original garage bands that made it to oldies-circuit semistardom) until we had to puke it back out somehow. This is less a rock record than a document of what happens to your guts when you ingest nothing but abuse and rock and roll for too long at a stretch. At one point, it was called “punk,” between that word’s incarnations as a slur against jailhouse homosexuals and a readymade identity for pampered, arrogant teenyboppers who fancy themselves too cool for the Bryan Adams songs their So. Cal. heroes ape. Now it’s a sacred tradition. The bar is higher. It takes more energy than the Igster ever had to play this game convincingly.

The Piranhas have got that elusive ‘it’.

These songs lunge in with antagonistic intros, then seem to end before tendering anything resembling a chorus or hook. An hour later, you won’t have any of these little numbers stuck in your skull, but you’ll still feel the welts they left on that ass.

The last time I witnessed an organ swing like this, it was getting hoisted to the 13th floor.

By Emerson Dameron

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