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All the Sweet Stuff

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Album Review

Oakland, CA's Gravy Train!!!! is an ambisexual quartet obsessed with junk food, junk culture, cheap thrills, booze, club life, fashion magazines and sleazy sex. Lead singer Chunx is a fun-loving cheerleader in gold lamé hot pants, with a vocal style that's part cheerleader, part riot grrrl and part good-natured karaoke belter who sounds slightly stoned and giddy beyond belief. Everyone in the band plays at least three instruments, including drums, bass, synth, organ, harpsichord and guitar, but it's often hard to separate out individual players in the big, muddy, new wave influenced mush that they churn out with such unbridled enthusiasm. There's funk, punk, doo wop, hip-hop, rock, disco, and glam in the mix, with traces of garage band amateurism, B- 52's, Prince, Toni Basil, Bananarama, and other late-'70s and early-'80s bands weaving in and out of the picture as well. The band's musical zeal can't be doubted, but the pastiche sounds strained and overly referential at times. Lyrically, the band specializes in juvenile songs about sex. Their slightly cartoonish delivery manages to make ditties about masturbation, lap dances and other raunchy situations sound strangely innocent, like a child talking about something she doesn't really understand. Case in point, "Solo J/O," a song about phone sex, wherein Chunx tries to get a beau to give himself a hand job, maybe so she can watch. It's bad, thumping, and so catchy you'll hate yourself in the morning for succumbing to its charms. "A Delicious Treat" is about oral sex, and again, the driving amusement park organ and flighty female vocals induce an enticing bit of verboten teenage heaven, even as they slip into a sleazy strip bar coda. The title track is a real tickle too, but while individual tracks will have you jumping out of your seat, as the album wears on, so does your patience. It's all good clean (or dirty) fun but at times the enthusiasm just can't overcome the feeling that there's not much going on here that's very original. ~ j. poet, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Typifying the excesses that have frequently been denounced in their genre, UK progressive rock band Gravy Train recorded a series of albums for Vertigo Records and Dawn Records in the early 70s bedecked in grandiose, conceptual artwork. The group’s core members were Norman Barratt (vocals/guitar; b. 5 February 1949, d. 30 July 2011), Barry Davenport (drums), J.D. Hughes (woodwind/keyboards/vocals) and Les Williams (bass/vocals). Their first, self-titled 1970 album was dominated by Hughes’ flute melodies,...
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All the Sweet Stuff, Gravy Train!!!!
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