Out of Their Heads

CD Cover Rusty
Handsome Boy

Review by Darren Gawle

Ah, the 'difficult' third album...

Truth be told, because their take on nihilistic turbo-pop still had a few miles left in the gas tank, Rusty could have avoided the mid-life crisis all bands inevitably go through. They could have recorded Sophomoric 2: The Senior Year and coasted relatively comfortably into the new millennium. But perhaps that's the whole point here -- why coast? Why wait until you run out of gas? Enter the re-invention of Rusty, where Ken MacNeil spends a Sunday afternoon rifling through his parents' attic and comes down with an armload of psychedelic artifacts on vinyl.

Paying homage to the sixties in much the same manner as the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols is where Rusty have ended up on Out of Their Heads; and although it's bound to be derided as derivative, it succeeds in the same territory where Primal Screamís Give Out But Donít Give Up sounded like a novelty pub-rock pastiche. OK, if you didn't like the Donovan-for-the-Gin-&-Sin-set sound of this CD's leadoff single "Soul for Sale," then flip to another review now; but if you did, the album has more to recommend it.

This is one of those rare albums that where I can comment on just about every track and say mostly good. "Rider" is a Mick n' Keef inquisition, forcibly prostrating you before the altar of Exile on Main St. sleaze-rock. "It's Christmas Time (and I'm Poor)" is a cheeky bugger which rips off the same Blues Magoos riff the Dead Kennedys hijacked for "Let's Lynch the Landlord." Ken MacNeil apes all three Beastie Boys at the same time for "I'm Hungry," which rocks the joint with the requisite amount of Noo-York stupidity (and I mean that in a good way). More Stones sensibilities pop up in "Memories" and "When I See You Smile," and the boys throw in "La Craqua" to end the album with an instrumental paean to Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.

As if just to prove it's possible, the CD also includes a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning," and it is the only real letdown on Out of Their Heads -- if you're going to cover a song, at least do something new with it. Nice work re-creating the guitar tones of the original, though.

It wasn't broke, but Rusty decided to screw with it anyway, and in so doing they have proven that there is life after grunge, and maybe you can trust a hippie. Ken may think I'm a fuckhead, but hey -- I know what I like.

Artist Contact Info: 181 Clinton St., Toronto, ON, Canada, M6G 2Y4, handsomeboy@passport.ca

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 18, 1998

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