Monday, November 9, 2009

The Throbs - The Language Of Thieves & Vagabonds (Geffen, 1991)

Why did I take so long to polish this buried gem? It had been waiting to be extracted from the depths of the CD racks at Cash Converters (Chesapeake location) for over seven years. Being a veteran scavenger who mines for treasures that are considered pyrite to many, I have an almost innate tendency to memorize inventory bins. My compartmentalization has pick-axed the way to finds such as a sealed Steve Diggle album for under two bones, Guadalcanal Diary's 2 X 4 priced at a dollar, multiple volumes of Rhino's D.I.Y. series with $2.99 stickers (thanks, Big Lots!), Jawbox's self-titled for 66 cents and The Weird Lovemakers' Flu Shot tagged at $1.99 (kudos, Skinnie's Records!). If these don't mean a thing and ain't got that swing, I could tell you where to score a plastic-wrapped copy of The Brian Setzer Orchestra's X-Mas album for under $3.50. Then I'd suffocate your two-months-too-late taste with a Glad kitchen bag. Doo wrap doo wrap doo wrap doo wrap...

Pillaging from the linguistic lessons of the Rolling Stones, New York Dolls, Stiv Bators and Hanoi Rocks, The Throbs speak to those fluent in the lapping tongues of sleazy-but-stylized rock 'n' roll. "Underground" plays up the Johnny Thunders gypsy vibe right from the jump with a baglama intro. However, insanity delays further nomadic travels. The tragedies may be a figment of imagination, but our rover still holes himself in a castle for 60 days and nights. Get off the phone, because he'll tell you nobody's home. This dude doesn't wanna be loved; he wants to be left alone. Once the yellow orb in the sky turns into green cheese, fucked-up friends are proud to be loud and intend to "Rip It Up" on the town. In a boast worthy of Adam Ant, the narrator declares, "I'm no prince/But I sure am charming." Out-of-control raves continue with "Ecstasy," as guest pianist Little Richard tickles the ivories for a thousand sleepless nights. Back at the castle, some "Wild Horses"-like countrified balladry of a "Honey Child" couldn't drag away the sounds of loneliness filling empty hallways and naked walls. Tunnel visions of Friday night in "Come Down Sister" resume the party. Guests like looking-down skyscrapers and dim streets of NYC bring enough favors to excite any vampiric junkie. "It's Not The End Of The World" counters REM's sentiments with a simplistic kiss-off ("But it's over for you"). Hang on to your cheesecakes, Lester Bangs and Leonard Bernstein!

New York City's answer to Guns 'N Roses' Appetite For Destruction is arguably a superior interpretation of the form. The Throbs were in the jungle, baby! Too bad their discography died after one release. But if you slither like a snake in the Amazon, Thieves & Vagabonds can be had for less than a few tokens on the subway train. For the pirate love you're looking for, this talks the talk.
- Gunther 8544

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