Let's Wrestle; Goofy Guitar Pop For Now Nerds
Pure fun is the perfect way to describe Let's Wrestle's new album, "Nursing Home." At first glance, the faults are apparent. Perhaps, it is a little too silly, a little too sloppy, and a little too schlocky brimming over with silliness and inside jokes, the kind that all the nerds in the room can relate to. Yet it is these qualities that endearingly make it a great album.
Like their fellow travelers on the jokey, but smart indie highway, Boat, Let's Wrestle knows how to have fun with a clever turn of phrase. An earlier song, "Music is My Girlfriend" took a tired cliche and made it seem new again. In a nutshell, this technique is the genius of the band. While "Nursing Home" never reaches the same heights, it is a fine attempt. The band is a little tighter, the jokes are more coherent, and the production values a hair better.
While not attempting anything as virtuosic as the new Boat album, Let's Wrestle should be able to bring their vision to a wider audience. They often remind me of a less obscure, less punk, Onion Flavored Rings, not as appreciated as they should be, but still capable of world domination because they have such smart, funny lyrics. Perhaps, in a world that appreciates a pop song that sloppily wears its all-too-fragile heart on its sleeve.
Songs like "In the Suburbs" with its muddy, turned down Dinosaur Jr. guitar lines and lyrics mentioning "dinner with my mother and playing computer games all night" are sure winners. Piano-driven numbers like "I Am Useful," in which the narrator wonders why she left because he is so useful, with "a degree in bionic physics" and ... "a three bedroom house in Chiswick." These are the details that make "Nursing Home" fun. Well that, and catchy music. Even slight missteps like "Bad Mammaries," with its tired cougar storyline get an A for effort if one can get past the stale concept. People have done so much worse, while trying to be witty; Bloodhound Gang comes to mind.
If "Let's Wrestle" continues down this road, a completely solid pop-perfect album is in their reach. They have crafted one of the most enjoyable of the year, if not the best. "Nursing Home" is the perfect record for visiting your inner nerd, the one with a special affection for sweet, goofy, guitar pop.