1994 CMJ Review Foetus/Chrome Chranks: Vice Squad Dick

Vice Squad Dick

More than musical ingenuity or lyrical wit, it is attitude which powers the new split EP between Chrome Cranks and industrial legend Foetus. The title track, which both Foetus and Chrome Cranks cover separately, was allegedly recorded in 1979 by the mysterious Dick Uranus, who has since disappeared. The song is a cartoonish distillation of the life of a detective, built on a straightforward guitar riff and complete with over-the-top swaggering lyrics: “I’m a hard-boiled dick/Stiff as a policeman’s nightstick.” Foetus uses a deliberate yet compelling beat, simple guitar playing, and some wailing sirens to capture the essence of Dick, while Chrome Cranks, who formed in Ohio and now live in New York, employ hugely distorted bass and guitar, and a snarl reminiscent of Jon Spencer (bassist Jerry Teel’s bandmate in Honeymoon Killers) on top of a skittering, slightly jazzy drumbeat. But the two other tracks rock with almost enough bravado to outdo Dick himself. The Chrome Cranks’ treatment works well on “Little Johnny Jewel,” a Television cover which Chrome Cranks convert into a noisy blues epic. And “Outside Of Time,” Foetus’s tribute to the interdimensional and enigmatic Von Lmo, is uncharacteristically sloppy and mighty loud, with space-age vocal effects that complement Von Lmo’s one-riff songwriting.

CMJ New Music Report, Issue# 394 (05 Sep 1994), by K. Sanneh.