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Are You Wigglin?

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Album Review

Since releasing the appealingly scruffy debut album Hello Doctor, Gravy Train!!!! have become a tighter, more pulled-together outfit (musically speaking, anyway; the group's lyrics are still a hodgepodge of pop culture, sex jokes, and their own lingo). However, this isn't necessarily a good thing: the rough edges that added to Hello Doctor's D.I.Y. charm are missing, and missed, on the band's second album, Are You Wigglin? The band has traded the cheap and cheerful, ghetto-fabulous punk-rap of its early work for a new wave-inspired sound that occupies a space somewhere between the cheerleading chants of Toni Basil's "Mickey" (which Gravy Train!!!! quote on the album's very first song, "Jonny Makeup"), the gross-out camp of Total Coelo, and the B-52's' wilder moments. Flirtations with glam rock ("Gotta Get Outta Batwiddicals") and '50s rock ("Hump Lites") show that the group has possibly even more musical terrain to explore. However, singer Chunx's vocals are also shriller and more prominent than they were on Hello Doctor, and are more than a little hard to take on songs like "(Everybody Do) The Thingy." Meanwhile, singer/dancer Hunx's role is downplayed, which is too bad, since his cameos on Hello Doctor were some of the album's highlights. Most of the time, Gravy Train!!!! come across as kooky, loud, and proud of it; they carry this attitude off on story-songs such as "Darque Tan," about a guy who fries in a tanning booth, and "Ghost Boobs," the tale of a formerly well-endowed girl haunted by the loss of her assets after a crash diet. Too often, though, they cross the line from kooky to annoying, especially on "Nudies from the Road" and the skit "Bloopies." Though Are You Wigglin? isn't as brash or immediate as Hello Doctor, it moves fast and has its fun moments, but just how many there are of those depends on your tolerance for high-pitched vocals and silly sexual innuendo.


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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Are You Wigglin?, Gravy Train!!!!
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