Review Summary: For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 78)
“Voyager”, “Same Old Show”, “Lost in the K-Hole”, “You’re Not From Brighton”.
Even the best dance albums have their filler songs. Typically instrumentals padding out the back half of the record, these tunes aren’t necessarily bad but they’re nobody’s favorite track. Instead they maintain mood, build anticipation for the big tunes, and get licensed for TV commercials.
Mylo’s (Myles MacInnes) Destroy Rock & Roll
is an entire album of these songs. It’s 14 tracks and 55 minutes of zero guest stars, no gimmicks, no 8 minute epics, and no obvious singles. Instead it’s Mylo deciding to expend 100% of his efforts in getting all the basics right. This is dance music as a Lego set, only the most necessary elements of dance music that Mylo takes to them like an eager beginner, enjoying the living hell out of every build, low pass filter wave, and chopped vocal hook.
It opens like a great adventure, with the sparkling “Valley of the Dolls” sounding like the beginning of an epic journey. Beginning with tensely plucked strings, “Valley of the Dolls” quickly picks up an infectious flow that carries through the majority of the album, as the song’s “ba da ba ba” hook trades off with a shimmering acoustic guitar riff. That song crashes pleasantly into “Sunworshiper”, which slows things down a little for a nice bike ride, both in sound and sample. An anonymous voice explains his journey to enlightenment. “I decided i was gonna find a new way of life. And so i took of on my bicycle.” It’s a thoughtful sample, one that repeats three times through the song, enough to let you meditate on it but not enough to exhaust.
Throughout Destroy Rock & Roll
Mylo’s goal is to find one good idea and make it great. Instead of burying it in lesser ideas he spends his time figuring out how to utilize that idea to its maximum potential. On “Drop the Pressure”, it’s the “Mother***ers droppin’ the pressure” refrain as good idea becomes a great one when Mylo loops up the explitive into “mother***ersmother***ersmother***ers*********************
” for a build into a final refrain. On “In My Arms” the Kim Carnes sample is the good idea becoming a great one as it’s allowed to carry on for four minutes over the track’s eager bounce. “Muscle Car (Reprise)” is all great hooks while “Paris Four Hundred” glides with autobahn momentum through a chopped vocal. Sequencing is a top priority here, with the opening duo and closing duo ushering you into and out of the album with expert finesse, the sunny optimism of “Valley of the Dolls”/”Sunworshiper” resolving with the wistful sunset of “Need You Tonight”/”Emotion 98.6”.
The title track contains Mylo’s finest moment and true stroke of genius. A representation for cult Church Universal and Triumphant begins to invoke holy judgement on 80s rock and roll stars. “All perversions of the third eye through distorted and exaggerated images, perverted movements of the body,” he begins in a boorishly angry voice, “we especially call for the judgement in this hour and the destroying of rock music directed specifically against children through the videos that were portrayed.” He goes on to begin listing off various popular musicians of the late 80s. “Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen,Tina Turner, David... Boo-ie, Van Halen” he goes. But something marvelous happens, as he recites a house tune begins seeping in behind him, growing louder until he’s making the very music he swore to destroy. It’s actually kind of moving, to imagine the club going up to someone calling for the holy judgement of “Missing Persons, Duran Duran, Missing Persons, Duran Duran”, and to know this guy failed so hard in his mission that his speech is now being sampled in a song that invites perverted movements of the body.
Really, Destroy Rock & Roll
is so easy to recommend because it’s just plain listenable as f*ck
. It’s an excuse free album, an impeccably sequenced collection of music that makes up for its lack of massive highlights by being completely devoid of low points. It won’t always be at the top of your listening priorities, and you’ll probably think of something you’d rather listen to while listening to it, but Destroy Rock & Roll
always makes for an inviting listen. Yes, it’s background music, but it’s good background music, elevating the moment through its Dance Music 101 sense of discovery and optimism.