If the recent spray of lo-fi bands from the lauded geyser of Pitchfork’s reviews section is anything to go by, cheap production values are most definitely -in’.
Emerging from the ubiquitous Los Angeles DIY venue, The Smell, Mika Miko are getting their chance to take on the rest of the music world (following in the relatively high-profile recent footsteps of the likes of No Age, HEALTH and Abe Vigoda) with this, their second official full-length in a string of CD-R, EP and seven-inch single releases since their formation in 2003.
But if it’s profundity and thought-provoking lyricism you seek then you’re digging in the wrong crate, for these five girls are only interested in making you (punk) rock.
Bringing the Dadaist interpretation of art to the term -art-punk’, We Be Xuxa – released on No Age drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt’s Post Present Medium label – is a 23-minute tornado of clattering percussion, surf-rock, late -70s Black Flag-esque hardcore, semi-ridiculous lyrics and no-wave punkage.
-Blues Not Speed’ has the brief, raggedy demeanour of snotty young -uns jamming in a garage, with its dodgy amp-sound, tambourine and tuneless whistling. -Turkey Sandwich’, of which there are two versions here, busts out an Undertones-inspired riff alongside a demand for’¦well’¦a turkey sandwich, while -Totion’ has the nostalgic echo of the Dead Kennedys in their occasional full-on boogie mode (think Too Drunk To Fuck).
Penultimate track, -Keep On Calling’, boasts an out there saxophone-guitar battle throughout and a cover version of The Urinals song -Sex -(No Age covered -Male Masturbation’ last year) seems a perfect match for the fast -n’ brash quintet.
However, We Be Xuxa is not without its downside and some of the songs do, on occasion, blend a little too easily into each other. -Sex Jazz’, whose title is made up of two wonderfully enjoyable pursuits, unfortunately ends up not sounding nearly as good as either one.
Mika Miko are on record as saying they come off better as a live act than as a recorded one, but try blaring this out of your speakers next time the sun is out and the cheap beers are in and see if anyone can resist the urge to chortle and boogie through at least eleven of these twelve tracks.
Henry Rollins once wanted you to Get In The Van; Mika Miko wants you to get on the floor.