Saturday 21 August 2010


Life is Sweet kicks off as it means to go on, with a guitar chord that feels like you’re being stabbed in the forehead.

Actually, the stabbing analogy’s probably not a bad one, considering Scarlover seems to be about a relationship in which both parties get their kicks from mutual self-mutilation. “You turned the blade on me -- and I loved it,” declares McKee in a seemingly insane state of over-excitement.

Having said that, the fact McKee sings of being ugly inside suggests the damage being done by both parties may be psychological rather than physical. I hope so as that’s a more interesting and frankly less icky concept.

There’s a live version of Scarlover knocking around on Youtube which shows just how close to musical disaster and self-parody the song skirts, as Maria, with her then common lack of restraint, starts to sound dangerously like Boris Karloff as she sings the, “Ugly inside of me, taught me of beauty,” line but in the studio she stays just the right side of such silliness and thus it’s a great introduction to the album. Like the title track of Sgt Pepper, Scarlover's not the best song on the album but it is a pretty good one and, with its overwrought melodrama and lurid imagery, sets the tone for the rest of the record. Not to mention that, propelled by Ric Kavins’ drums and Maria’s guitar, the thing sweeps along on a tide of its own stop-for-nothing urgency and bristling energy. Right from the off you know this is an album that’s not going to compromise for anyone.

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