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Lotterboys - Animalia

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Artist: Lotterboys

Album: Animalia

Label: Eskimo

Review date: Jul. 9, 2006

It’s an animated cartoon set to music; every gesture exaggerated, every pratfall met with stars orbiting around the victim’s head. The wolf is at the door – he’s broken down a whole stack of them running down the hallway, as he’s been drawn by Tex Avery – and he’s willing to do whatever’s put in front of him, be it male, female or narcotic. People call him Paris the Black Fu, others know him as Mack Goudy, Jr., and still more know him by his involvement with Detroit Grand Pubahs and the “Sandwiches” that group made on the dance floor years back. Paris fronts the high-camp trio known as Lotterboys, rounded out by Fetisch and Shapemod of German electro posse Terranova. Following a host of 12” singles, all of which have been repurposed for Animalia, the group’s debut album (including the gut-bustingly funky “Heroine,” met with eye-rolling yet ass-shaking approval by Dusted last year), Lotterboys are intent on charging up club environments by juxtaposing over-the-top lyrical content and a flamma-jamma delivery on top of sturdy, compressed electro-rock.

What’s setting Animalia apart from, say, the Optimo guys re-jiggering oldies tracks with dance beats, or music from the entire diaspora of electroclash, from Miss Soffy O to Peaches, or Felix to Smash TV? Nothing and everything, really. The mood is set to “fun” from the get-go, with opener “Star Whores” barreling out on whitewalls, all biting, bitching hi-hat/kick pound and analog squelch, before Geezer fuzz-wah “N.I.B.” bass hydraulicizes the affair. Behind the wheel is, of course, Paris, doing his best George Clinton impersonation, triple-tracking octaves of falsetto and bottom over his silly screeds and bop-gunning the entire affair right out the drop-top roof. He steers it all over both sides of the double yellow line, too, that big Coupe de Ville back-end nearly colliding with crooked-toothed onlookers at Trash in London, with debonair rich kids in a bathroom stall in Marrakech, with an iguana wearing sunglasses in the desert, with a near-comatose afterparty overdose in a room at the Tribeca Grand. Which is to say that they are in character, eschewing self-awareness in an attempt to extend the party. But most by-products of nightlife decadence can’t keep the production end up like they can: grooves are laid on thick and muscular, peaking with the endless boogie of hand-percussion apocalypse “Blazer” and the generally gut-checked bass, watery synths, and on-the-money drumming throughout. They come closest to wrecking the ride with an ill-advised cover of “Iron Man” (see, the Sabbath reference was, in fact, premeditated), but by and large, the veneer of cheese does wash away here if you want it to. You can’t dress these Lotterboys up, but you can take them out to the party anyway. The problems stem with everything else surrounding it; the days of Missy Queen and “Silver Screen Shower Scenes” have, by and large, kicked out the chairs a few years back, and if anything, you might be hard-pressed to find any examples in the field this completely gone to pass muster alongside it. Which is to say that Animalia has raised the bar, simply by picking it up off the dance floor, really. Which anyone could have done, but few have done so right in recent memory. Here’s hoping their presence makes the clubs get weird again.

By Doug Mosurock

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