Unknown Pleasures: Obscure Album Review
Pleasant Smut Anthology is a revolutionary album, but it’s a subtle, understated revolution. Without question, it is a guitar rock album — it’s astonishing to hear the interplay between Hugh G. Rection (lead singer/ songwriter) and Vinnie Gerdouche (lead axe/ pan flute) — but it is a guitar rock album unlike any other. Where their predecessors in the Hamilton punk scene, most notably the band Bulls^%t Mouse, had fused blues structures with avant-garde flourishes, Hugh G. Rection and The Sexual Experience completely strip away any sense of swing or groove, even when they are playing standard three-chord changes. Pleasant Smut Anthology is comprised almost entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group’s long, interweaving instrumental sections, not through Rection’s words. That alone makes Pleasant Smut a trailblazing album — it’s impossible to imagine modern post-punk soundscapes without it. Of course, it wouldn’t have had such an impact if Rection and Gerdouche (and Buster Hyman, pictured at left–skins–& Emmanuel Labour–bass, pennywhistle–, to a lesser extent) hadn’t written an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries. From the nervy opener, “Sammy The Sperm,” to the majestic “Eat S%^t You Bitch“, to the ephemeral “Would You Mind?“ to the stunningly primal “Methane Pyro”, there is simply not a bad song on the entire record. And what has kept Pleasant Smut Anthology fresh over the years is how The Sexual Experience flesh Hugh’s poetry into sweeping sonic epics. The album has been compared, and rightfully so, to Nirvana’s Nevermind in terms of sonic brilliance and revolutionary inspiration.
Although the band went their separate ways in 1992 Hugh has stayed active in the music business, releasing a string of successful solo albums the most noteworthy of which being “I Have My Ups And Downs”, released in 2001.
I was fortunate enough to see this maverick band live a number of times, and even more fortunate to witness the recording of the afore mentioned masterpiece as it was laid down in the studio.
After the albums release the band was interviewed and even performed live on college radio station CFMU,in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. The set was recorded and sold in the thousands, even though an obviously drunk Gerdouche kept playing the riff to Sweet Home Alabama throughout the session.
Truly one for the ages, folks