dangerous idiots album review
by Adam Williams | We Were Promised So Much… | July 4, 2011
Certain things come in twos, salt and pepper, cheese and onion, and of course, daytime radio and shit music. Two things that do work in tandem, much like bacon and eggs, are danger and idiocy.
As a rule of thumb, wherever danger is, an idiot is close by. Just look at the Jackass crew, a bunch of idiots waging untold amounts of danger on themselves and the unsuspecting public. Aaron Sarlo is no idiot, but he has managed to instil the danger back into Rock ‘n’ Roll, which in these musically stagnant times, can only be welcomed with open arms.
Dangerous Idiots is the latest venture into the world of music by Sarlo, and he is joined by fellow band members Paul Bowling on bass and Shayne Gray on drums. Sarlo is no stranger to the treacherous world of Rock ‘n’ Roll, as he performed with cult bands Techno Squid Eats Parliament and Slept, as well as touring with Cheap Trick, opening for Cracker and Alex Chilton, playing the legendary South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas and not to mention appearances on MTV and MTV Canada. However, after eight years in the shadows, Sarlo is back with Dangerous Idiots, and is priming a superb album for release through Mostar Records on 6th July 2011.
This self-titled LP doesn’t waste any time getting started, as without warning, you are confronted with a scream of “Are you tired of all the bullshit??” A chugging guitar riff is then teamed up with crashing cymbals to propel the song into the stratosphere. Sarlo then proceeds to pour scorn on the crap found on the internet, declaring “There is a lot of garbage on there.” As an opening gambit, He Who Has The Information Is The Leader is a perfect way to announce this record to the world.
‘Dangerous Idiots’ is a short, sharp shock of a record, clocking in at just over thirty minutes. It’s a whistle-stop tour of the Rock ‘n’ Roll badlands, but there is no map, only your instinct as your compass and a long dusty road ahead of you.
The American trio, has taken the core elements of Rock, Punk and Pop, torn them up, mix them together and applied them to tape to create something familiar yet exciting at the same time.
When I say Rock ‘n’ Roll, I am not talking spandex leotards and flaming codpieces, I mean gritty, uncompromising, and direct testaments aimed at the masses. Honest songs with an air of menace and humour rolled into a beautiful racket. Can I Get A Role Model is a tongue-in-cheek parting shot at society. Sarlo knows full-well that, in these politically uncertain times, we need someone to help guide us, and show society the light at the end of the tunnel — but where are they?
Sarlo manages to use humour to convey a serious message “My teachers don’t know their mouth from their ass, so they don’t know they’re shitting when they lecture the class.” On the first listen, this may project a childish view on life, but on reflection it is a swipe at the power figures that are holding all the cards, but doing a pretty poor job of making the right decisions.
Sarlo’s wordplay on Cooler Than You is hilarious, as he is offering a backhanded put down to any scenester or wannabe attempting to play at the Rock ‘n’ Roll game. Sarlo delivers the choice lyric of “I lead a pathetic life, but I know that I’m still cooler than you” closely followed by “I’m big and fat, and I’m losing my hair, but somehow I’m still cool than you.” If you listen very closely, I am pretty certain you can hear a slight chuckle from the band as these coy lyrics are spat out.
‘Dangerous Idiots’ is a master-class in Rock ‘n’ Roll expertise. For the most part, the record accelerates at such a speed, there is no time to stop and gawp at the scenery, it’s a real blink and you miss it thrill ride. However, this doesn’t mean, that the band don’t know when to apply the breaks and drop a gear when they need to. Never Want To Let You Go is a perfect example of this, as the song is a curious blend of chugging basslines and surf guitars at the start, while behind the sedate arrangements you can hear a storm brewing, and when the track reaches its climatic end it is sprinting to the finish with the wind whipping against it’s face.
Sarlo and the gang have delivered a debut album packed to the rafters with riffs, thunderous drums and bassline rumbles to shake any building to its foundations.
It’s left to album closer to deliver the final curve ball. As Sad glides beautifully into place, with Sarlo’s delicate croon marrying up to tenderly plucked guitar strings. This acts as a subtle and unpredictable closer to a raucous Rock ‘n’ Roll record and hints at an intriguing future for Dangerous Idiots. Sad conveys that the trio are more than just a one dimensional rock band, and they can show a certain deft touch when they need to.
Dangerous Idiots have produced a record distilling all that is Rock ‘n’ Roll. It certainly brings the danger, but this definitely isn’t the work of idiots, it could almost be genius.