Muscles Guns Babes Lemonade Review

Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Appealing to anyone bored with the too-cool-for-school posturing of Muscles' bigger...

Paul Sullivan 2008

From his nom-de-disque and the title of his debut album, you might think Muscles is some kind of thugged out, testosterone-fuelled, 'bitches & bling' rap act from the Left Coast. But then there’s the 'Lemonade' part of the title to consider: Would a real rapper rap about an effervescent soft drink?

No - but then Muscles is not a rapper, he's a shouter. And this is not a hip hop record but a big, warm, cascading flow of electro-pop that follows in the keep-it-real-ish steps of acts like The Streets, Audio Bullys and even Jamie T – albeit with a distinctive Australian twang and a more soaring, euphoric music ethic.

Muscles foists upon us his unique - some might say Antipodean - brand of enthusiasm, which can walk the tightrope between infectious and irritating. Backed by a homemade bedroom concerto of pumping riddims, stabbing rave-synths and grainy melodies, he sweats and shouts and jumps around, offering us earnest, wry and occasionally surreal tales of life, clubbing and romance.

His joie de vivre is irrepressible. There are whoops and PLUR messages at every opportunity. On Ice Cream, he makes a tale of violence sound jaunty, managing – impressively – to squeeze in the bizarre and repetitive refrain ''Ice Cream/ Is going to save the day''. On My Friend Richard he puts the world of party promotion to rights; and on One Inch Badge Pin he gives us a Muscles love tryst, involving a girl from the ''Melbourne independent music community''.

Fans of subtlety and minimalism probably won't enjoy the more hands-in-the-air parts of this album. Nor the way that Muscles multi-layers his own voice to give it extra oomph and dominance over his bedroom beats. But there's a refreshing lack of cynicism to Guns, Babes & Lemonade that makes it appealing to anyone bored with the too-cool-for-school posturing of Muscles' bigger city peers.

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