Jun 29, 2009
You can squeeze a lot out of an acronym, IMHO. Sixteen years ago, Naughty by Nature shot to number one when they sung about 'OPP'. Now, three years after Alter Ego hit the nownow with ‘Rocker’ – a track that hit every nerve it touched – they return to conquer with a three letter strategy of their own: OTT.
The b-side ‘Blitz’ off the ‘Blank’ EP hinted that things were tending otherwise, toward some kind of narco-aquatic minimal a la False’s 2007, but all those addled promises of a deep/minimal dive have been dashed here against smoke-ready rocks that are harder, faster, and more ridiculously high-impact than even the craziest moments on ‘Rocker‘.
The earlier excesses of 2000’s ‘Betty Ford’ are a landmark, but even she seems grey and timid compared to some of the maddest tracks here. ‘Pleasure Island’, the album’s penultimate track, is hard enough to make DJ Rush exclaim: ‘Man, that’s some hard mutha-fuckin’ beats.’ The track culminates in an orgy of horns that has to be heard to be disbelieved. Imagine Smith & Hack’s ‘Moving like a Train’ cranked with enough brass, iron and juice to be moving like a supertanker. It's that massive and unstoppable.
The tracks that don’t go harder, go longer. ‘Jolly Joker’ is a ten-minute epic of excess that melds the violently happy extremes of '90s rave to bleeding edge sound design, and there’s the rub. Behind the maniacal face of every OTT hook and ridiculous tear-out on Why Not?! is some serious attention to detail – if this is evil clown makeup, it’s the kind applied with laser beams. ‘Fuckingham Palace’ takes microboompty to its hypermanic limit, with huge stabs and bass-drops redolent of Si Begg or Tipper’s high-impact sub-bass busting shenanigans. ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge’ (following the royal run) is likewise full of huge dive-bombing saw-wave attacks and repeated raygun blasts that out-Audion Audion. ‘Chicken Shag’ announces in its own way that it’s time for the percolator, but again, this is Green Velvet slapped, tweaked and pumped up to cartoonish proportions.
Humour has never been techno’s strong point, but here it’s back in full song. Wuttke and Flügel are throwing out the question: you down with OTT? And if you say ‘No!’– you po-faced humourless mnml schmoe – the immediate response would seem to be, ‘Why Not?!’ The whole album is a parody of a caricature – each track takes its influences and out does them by a factor of five, rendering them in evermore louder, brighter and more garish colours. The cumulative effect of one peak after another makes it unbearable as an album from start to finish, but each track has a well-deserved place in the peakiest of peak-points of your silliest Saturday night. In a genre that reifies restraint to the point of strangling all colour out of intensity, Why Not?! is a paintbomb filled with high-contrast toxic bombast flung from the edges of madness into the obstinately ‘black box’ mentality of minimalism. And that’s a good thing…isn’t it?
01. Alter Ego -- Why not (5:39) mp3
02. Alter Ego -- Gary (7:11) mp3
03. Alter Ego -- Fuckingham Palace (6:11) mp3
04. Alter Ego -- Jolly Joker (10:40) mp3
05. Alter Ego -- Qeen Annes Revenge (7:01) mp3
06. Alter Ego -- Chicken Shag (5:59) mp3
07. Alter Ego -- Third World Food on Upper East Side (8:50) mp3
08. Alter Ego -- Blank (7:30) mp3
09. Alter Ego -- Exile on Bleep Street (7:03) mp3
10. Alter Ego -- Pleasure Island (7:06) mp3
11. Alter Ego -- Welcome to Germany
Download Alter Ego - Why Not part1
Download Alter Ego - Why Not part2