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Let’s Wrestle - Nursing Home

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Artist: Let’s Wrestle

Album: Nursing Home

Label: Merge

Review date: Jun. 1, 2011

Let’s Wrestle’s success story is the type that keeps enterprising kids plugging in and stomping pedals: Slacker friends record shambolic, charming album in a basement; said album gets noticed — and re-released — by hip American indie label; band tours extensively, gets to hang with their idols; then settles into the studio to record a follow- up with notable producer. Better yet, in the London trio’s case, the entire process took place over the span of a couple of quick years.

While the band’s ride must have been dizzying, key to Let’s Wrestle’s charm is how little success has fazed Wesley Patrick Gonzalez’s crew. On Nursing Home, much like the band’s debut, the songs swing on an orbit of Gonzalez’s dreams, fantasies and day-to- day mundane. It’s not heady lyricism — song titles here include “Bad Mammaries,” “There’s A Rockstar In My Room” and “I’m So Lazy” — yet Gonzalez’s wordplay is charming and nimble.

“In Dreams Part II,” opens the album with a doughy, hyper bass line and rusted nail guitars. The effect is oh so very ’90s, not unlike early Green Day or other first gen pop-punk pranksters. Steve Albini is a surprisingly decent fit in the production booth, providing an angsty kick that meshes well with the music’s snot- nosed teenage abandon.

Yet, what differentiates Let’s Wrestle from the legions of three-chord Jackass-bred punks is its inherent Britishness. Where American counterparts may be content with songs of skating, pee-stink and cheap beer, Gonzalez and Co. create Ray Davies-sharp social scenarios. “In The Suburbs” and “I Am Useful” find the band peering into the same sad English suburbia which has fascinated U.K. songsmiths since The Kinks first turned their lens towards the packaged flats of Muswell Hill.

It’s this attention to the absurdity and hilarity of the everyday, mated with the band’s catchy, subtle instrumentation, that gives Nursing Home an appeal which lasts well beyond the album’s initial sugar high.

By Ethan Covey

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