Rank Sinatra Chairman of the Bored Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

More demented deconstructions of pop culture from the V/Vm crew, here personified by...

Peter Marsh 2004

Over the last few years,the V/Vm label has gone around upsetting a lot of people (and more crucially, a few lawyers) with a string of releases that have prodded sacred cows from Aphex Twin to The Queen Mother. Some might have felt they've gone too far on occasions (the Harold Shipman disc was a tricky one, to say the least).Of course there is an argument that suggests one of the characteristics of great art is that it does precisely that. While the V/Vm crew may laugh at that suggestion (and rightly so), there's a danger that some of their more serious projects like The Caretaker or the recent Shostakovitch rework may get overlooked in the guffaws and cries of outrage.

It's tempting to wonder how long they can keep this up before they run out of steam or get litigated into oblivion, but if releases like this one are anything to go by, there's no let up in their continued attempts to aim a few kicks at the corpse of pop culture. If pop has eaten itself, then this is what happens when it goes to the toilet.

This is the mysterious Rank Sinatra's first full length outing, and though it's quite easy to describe I'm not sure I can express just how ludicrous a thing it is. Imagine a karaoke bar in which the microphone is permanently in the hands of one of the demons out of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, who is singing through a distortion unit. The backing tracks are subjected to all manner of sonic indignities so that at times they sound like they're coming from a shortwave radio stuck in a room of malfunctioning fax machines. Listening to it all in one sitting may result in neurological damage.

Pop classics from Christina Aguilera, The Human League, INXS and many more aredisembowelled and trampled on with admirable determination. Although this means there's just the one joke here, that doesn't stop it getting any funnier. I suppose you could make some kind of case for Rank's work being a cultural critique of today's karaoke-driven pop idol culture, but I'll leave that to others; I've been too busy laughing. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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