This ten-track 32-minute album sees The Soft Pink Truth's Drew Daniel (one half of San Francisco duo Matmos) returning to his musical roots with a batch of sweetly nostalgic electronic disco covers of classic English punk rock and American hardcore. The beat is turned up loud, nasty guitar riffs come back as fizzly synthesizer zaps, tragedy returns as farce, and sacred truths are ruined.
Vickie Bennett (of People Like Us) dryly recites the lyrics to Crass's "Do They Owe Us A Living?" in a Flying Lizards-ish monotone on top of stark tech-house, while Drew himself drunkenly croons his way through a skiffle-y rendition of "Kitchen" (by L. Voag of The Homosexuals), complete with tea kettle screams and pots-and-pans percussion. Die Kreuzen's "In School" flies by in a caffeinated blur of micro-beat edits and relentless vocal snippery. There's a suitably menacing flesh-creep factor to the Rudimentary Peni medley of "Media Friend" and "Vampire State Building" (guest vocal by fashion icon Jeremy Scott), and the deep dub disco workout of The Swell Maps' "Real Shocks" heaves with monstrous sub-bass. Minor Threat's straight edge chestnut "Out of Step" gets a pop facelift with lushly multi-tracked harmony vocals from Herbert chanteuse Dani Siciliano complete with an En Vogue-ish doo wop breakdown and frantically chopped beats, while Blevin Blectum's whispery duet with Daniel on Teddy & the Frat Girls' "I Owe It To The Girls" gives the breakdancers fodder for heavy duty popping and locking. Though the wobbly, flanged vocals on the cover of Nervous Gender's "Confession" sound very 1982, the rave piano stabs reset things to 1992 acidhouse.
A perverted tryst between punk lyrical nihilism and silly disco froth, Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Soft Pink Truth? swings both ways. As a stable control group to aid in the comparative analysis of the divergent ideological positions of English punk rock and American hardcore, the record concludes with an a cappella rendition of the Styne and Robin Broadway showtune "Looking Back," previously performed by Carol Channing, a freaky but fitting conclusion to this heartfelt examination of youth culture nostalgia.
* The Drew Daniel half of Matmos
* Electronic disco covers of classic punk and hardcore (Crass, Minor Threat, Die Kreuzen, Swell Maps, Angry Samoans, et al.
* Long overdue Nervous Gender revival finally takes hold