“This our best yet” says Colleen Caffeine as she hands me a copy of CHOKING SUSAN’s new album, ‘Goes To Cuntopia.’ “We’re really pleased with it….”
As the vocalist and ‘face’ of the Detroit sleaze-punk four piece, Colleen and guitarist Killer Keith have been the two constant factors in the band’s history, and as such is well quailfied to pass judgement.
Now I don’t suppose many band members are going to tell you that their latest offering is “crap,” but the genuine excitement in her voice and the quiet smile of pride that spreads across her face tells me, as a long-standing fan, that this one is going to be just a little bit special.
And you know – Colleen’s not often wrong, but she’s right again (to coin a good, old-fashioned Glasgow colloquialism.)
There is something ‘cleaner’ about these nine tracks than on previous albums – I’m talking about the sound here and not so much the album title or the opening track ‘Cuntopia.’ (Or indeed the album cover for that matter, which portrays Colleen and Keith riding a tampon like one of those yellow banana-boats you see at the beach! Yeah – welcome to the world of CHOKING SUSAN, my friend!)
Perhaps there’s been a change in the production technique, but it’s not just the ‘quality’ of sound that seems to have been bettered, it’s the smooth integration of the songs that in this case seem to run better together as a collection. The album’s not as ‘disjointed’ is what I’m saying.
The Ramones influence is still there of course, and no more so of course than on the track ‘I Married Joey Ramone’ which manages to shoehorn in several Ramones song-titles to the lyrics! Elsewhere, there’s the frantic ‘Nose Hair’ and ‘Cuntopia’ itself, both of which are absolutely what you’d expect from CHOKING SUSAN.
But maybe evidencing an emerging maturity in their sound, ‘Liar Liar’ adopts a slower pace and grunge-tinged guitar with Colleen’s vocals more growled while the backing vocal seems just a little on the sinister side.
‘Mail Order Bride’ at just a shade under four minutes is by far the longest track I’ve heard from the band. The vocals this time are more deadpan, depressed even, but the song is lightened by an infectious guitar riff which sounds amazingly similar to a slower version of that used by Shatterhand (a punk outfit from Falkirk that they played with recently in Glasgow) in their song ‘Tenpercenters.’ A happy but spooky coincidence obviously!
So, ‘Goes To Cuntopia’ certainly has more diversity of sound than earlier offerings, but it’s the straight-up punk tunes that really bring CHOKING SUSAN into their own, and with ‘Someone Else’s Face’ and ‘4 A Girl,’ they don’t disappoint.
Ultimately, all nine songs on the album are instantly infectious and beat-ridden. And while no-one is saying that Colleen has the best voice in the world, her enthusiasm and personality is omnipresent throughout the twenty-five minutes or so duration.
Go get it, punk!
(Available now – direct from the band’s website and in person at any one of their shows.)
(10 / 10)