Marc Almond & Foetus – Slut – Review

Marc Almond & Foetus

Slut (Thirsty Ear)
by Nik Rainey

And howzabout this for a seemingly unlikely pair: Marc Almond, the pale, prancing synth-sleazemonger from Soft Cell, and Foetus, the Aussie expatriate studio worm best known for his claustrophonic deathscapes? Actually, not such a stretch when you get down to it: They both started out on the Some Bizarre label in the UK, and they even shared a stage with Nick Cave and Lydia Lunch on the Immaculate Consumptive micro-tour back in the early ’80s. As it turns out, Big Jim Thirlwell’s knack for the grandiose dovetails quite well with Marc’s gutter operatics on Slut (Thirsty Ear) – even the title seamlessly melds Foetus’ predilection for one-word, four-letter album titles and Almond’s concentrated camp que(e)rilousness. The first three tracks, previously issued as a 1987 12-inch, conform to the simplest expectations such a pairing arouses – ak-ak percussion, airless orchestral flourishes that create an ambience that doesn’t exist in nature, and Marc caterwauling, grunting and growling in an attempt to compete with J.G.’s razor-riddled wall of sound – after several years with only Dave Ball’s thin-thethithers as foil, it’s a struggle he was doomed to lose. On the final four songs, however, Foetus eases up on the bombast a trifle, bringing both his talent for arrangement and Almond’s Joel-Grey-as-rough-trade mannerisms into more effective relief, especially on the delirious lounge parody “Love Amongst the Ruined” and the wonderfully overblown schizo-fop classicism (timpani, full chorus and strings, double-tracked vocals) of the standard, “Beat Out The Rhythm On A Drum.” Every possible facet of this well-matched collaboration is explored in full, and you’ve got a lovely Robert Williams cover to stare at while you lounge in its debauched splendor, forgetting for but a moment the lower-class meanderings of those punk plebes and their nasty, inelegant racket. Silly little bootboys.

 

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