Tuesday, 24 February 2009

004 - Adam And The Antz - "Dirk Wears White Sox" (1979)

Adam Ant is more known for his pompous, grand costumes, unique make up and brilliant, joyous pop tunes like “Prince Charming” and “Friend or Foe”. Before all that - before even Marco - was “Dirk Wears White Sox”, a slice of abstract art posing as punk rock.

The sound is minimalist - full of jerky, disjointed guitar riffs and driven by David Barbarossa’s eccentric and utterly unique drums that eventually evolved into tom-tom backbone for both Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. The songs themselves are dark, witty, obscure numbers that never suggest the joyous bombasticism pushed when he found fame the following year; they rumble along like atmospheric musings, never quite fitting in the way they’re supposed to, running forward, bumbling backwards.

It’s a dark album, venturing into Siouxsie Sioux  territory and Adam’s lyrics are blackly quirky: screams of “I’m a spastic but my boots are clean”; musing about the death of John F. Kennedy in “Catholic Day”; the size of God’s knob in “Day I “Met God”; or Cleopatra as a prostitute in “Cleopatra”. His lines are melodious and sweet, swinging easily over the songs.

It’s all punk rock, but not as many know it. It’s difficult, interesting, shape shifting, genre-defying and not an easy lie down. This was before punk became it's slow decay into bordem, when it was more than “three chords and the truth” - it was an idea. Dirk's full of glorious ideas, experimentations, not being afraid to challange themselves or their audience. Whilst he went onto bigger things, this is Adam Ants most exploratory, interesting effort - a unique experiment. Oh yeah, and that’s Antz with a ‘Z’

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