The Cramps, Smell Of Female

Published on March 30th, 2009 in: He Had Good Taste, Issues, Music, Music Reviews, Waxing Nostalgic |

By Christian Lipski

“Ladies and Gentlemen, live from the Peppermint Lounge, The Cramps”

With these words, I am catapulted back over twenty years. My brother Kevin hipped me to the good badness of The Cramps, and I had a tape of various songs that lasted a long time. Kevin bought this live six-song EP back in ’85 (the cashier gave it a brief sniff) and I quickly grabbed a copy of it. I was familiar with the surf/fuzz sounds of The Cramps from my mix tape, but hearing the songs live really drives home how insane and dirty they were. From the very first song, “Thee Most Exhalted Potentate of Love,” singer Lux Interior is working blue, and it was delightfully naughty even at the age of 17 (or perhaps because of that age) to sing along. This was wild wild rock and roll and I loved it.

smell of female

I had heard the live version of “Tear It Up” on the Urgh! A Music War soundtrack, and the primal nature of the group continued on Female. I loved how Lux interacted with the crowd, talking to members of the audience from the stage, even though he was obviously recording a live record. Their covers of “Faster Pussycat” and “Psychotic Reaction” are done out of pure love for the dirty garage sounds of the 60s, and fit the band’s sound perfectly. A crazed group of lunatics, but their music was rock and roll stripped to its essential elements.

As Kevin wrote in his music blog Hello Vegetables, “Lux Interior spoke the truth. If you had a problem with two guitars, three chords, and a primal beat you were already dead.”

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