Insane Clown Posse (with Jack White and JEFF the Brotherhood) - Leck Mich Im Arsch - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Insane Clown Posse (with Jack White and JEFF the Brotherhood) - Leck Mich Im Arsch

by Amy Putman Rating:8 Release Date:2011-09-13

Last night I had a nightmare in which tentacular monsters had killed vast swathes of humanity and I was being sent into their base to kick some slimy arse... "Horrible monsters?" I hear you say "Eeeuuww!" But no, my friend, that wasn't the nightmare. Far from it - that bit was like starring in my own personal action film, one in which I could not be defeated. I was a magical mix of Bruce Willis and Indiana Jones. It was epic and slick and very, very satisfying. The dream turned into a nightmare when I turned a corner, sliced up a slobbering squid guard and found myself in their central chamber. There, in a cage, was the band Ash. The aliens were nowhere to be seen and with a sinking heart I realised it was my job to try and defend them. Things only got worse from there. For hour upon dream hour I stood braced for a fight while behind me three girlish Irishmen and one pale boyish girl (this was 1990s Ash) sang 'Girl From Mars' over and over and over again. Even the heroic dream version of me eventually had enough. I decided they deserved to be eaten alive and went home for a pint of moonshine.

Does anyone even remember Ash anymore anyway? I'm personally quite glad they've faded away, exiled to their heyday in the past century. It wasn't so much the tunes, or even the flat, reedy, thin and often off-key voice of Tim Wheeler (their front-man, who resembled an ecstasy riddled chav playing dress up as an indie kid). What really irritated me was just how insipid they were.

Whatever people think of either Insane Clown Posse, or Jack White, or their very surprising collaboration, I embrace the fact that nobody can ever insult them with the tag of insipidity. Whether you love or loathe them, you feel something. They are something. Nobody is spared an opinion. They all have a level of vigour and life that goes beyond the everyday. They are the stuff of legend, or notoriety, depending on how you feel. Sometimes it even comes down to individual songs. I love 'Hall of Illusions' (ICP) and 'Die By the Drop' (Jack White's band Dead Weather). I hate 'Juggalo Island' (ICP) and 'Apple Blossom' (White Stripes).

In general I am a lover of Insane Clown Posse, one of my more recent discoveries. Although they have been going since the 1990s, I was introduced to them by a rotten ex-boyfriend last year. When I first heard their single 'In Yo Face' (a song about punching people from the Bang! Pow! Boom! Album) I laughed and danced in equal measure. They may not be examples of musical genius but - by jingo! - they are jolly good fun.

I do understand the criticism of their guttural swearing, ridiculous lyrics and encouragement of violence but I think their critics largely miss the point, and a sense of perspective. Their songs are no 'worse' in content than any other famous rapper or hip hop artist. Their tunes and composition are remarkably catchy and they display a good sense of rhythm. They are adept at getting the phases of the song to flow into each other with impeccable timing. More to the point, what the scandalised Christians and just as zealous humourless traditional hip-hop fans miss in their damning of ICP is that they are meant to be a light-hearted, postmodern, tongue in cheek cartoon group. They might not be a sharp one liner, sketch-show comedy group like the very popular The Lonely Island, but they follow a tradition of self-reflexive mockery within the genre that comes from other larger than life bands like Green Jelly.

ICP describe themselves as performance artists rather than musical artists and have created a parallel world of fiction in which to dwell. All of their songs are supposed to originate from and describe that world, not this. It has a cryptic, otherworldly mythology and a careful history of magic, cause and effect. If people are judging their lyrics in this world, they are simply referring to the wrong canon. Songs like 'Hokus Pokus' allow the listener a glimpse into another place, laying down the parameters of their fantasy. It is a beautiful creation - a world that allows them to release the anger, anarchy, destruction, desire and downright lust that all humans have within them carefully hidden from sight.

ICP let it all out safely and in a masterful, consistent construction that is colourful, creative and imbued with a quaint, creepy fairground charm. They make hundreds of cheeky nods to other traditions, artists and songs and encourage every human to allow themselves to feel all their emotions. Their artistic vision is of freedom for all - the religious undertones are just an excuse for mocking institutions and including fantastic flights of fancy. 'Let's Go All the Way' is a call to arms for the repressed and the disaffected - not for violence, just for a riot of release. Like libertines they beg you to stop disguising all your secrets, weird habits, emotions and fetishes. ICP are practically therapy in soundwave. 'Miracles' was simultaneously a protest against the hard-right US Christians and a genuine plea not to take things for granted. Once you've stopped laughing at their comedic timing and exaggeration, it actually works.

I know I have just wittered on for ages about ICP but I'm kind of assuming that if you're cool enough to be reading Soundblab, you are very clear on who Jack White is. He really needs no introduction. Critically acclaimed and the creative force behind three amazing bands (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and Dead Weather), he has reinvigorated strident, blues-based rock. Sure, his music may not be the most complicated or technically demanding, but is that really the point? If all we require of musicians is to stand on stage displaying manual dexterity and practical instrument playing skills then we'd have them up there doing scales and arpeggios. We don't go to gigs to stand there judging like a middle-aged appreciation society, and people don't become musicians to work on their finger muscles. Music is meant to be about feeling, sharing and inhabiting an art form, not watching someone show off, oblivious to the audience and wrapped comfortingly in their own ego like wanking porn stars. You can see clearly as he plays, and hear it screaming through his music, that Jack White is not up there for his vanity. He's there to experiment, to create and to make sublime beauty. He grabs the listener and pulls them into his rich soundscape, full of interesting aural beasts and gently creeping melodies.

Now, I know that a lot of Jack White fans, especially people who have confined themselves to a love of The White Stripes, are extremely surprised by this new venture. I was amazed when I first heard, but I was also thrilled by the possibilities. Having thought about it, however, it makes perfect sense. Firstly, all three of them are experimenters and inventors, who all have a boyish sense of humour, live in a shadow realm of reality half here and half not, and have a wilful, wild creativity which would always be open to embracing something different - they are musical adventurers.

Secondly, they both circle round the edge of the alternative, spanning genres and mixing crowds. Finally, I reckon they'd all be extremely fun people to meet. They are excitable, intelligent and passionate, slightly escapist, imaginative and not a little bit naughty, dirty and funny. If it ever happened that they were at the same party then of course they'd get on well. It would be a brief drink to friendship and a shared spliff to an eager and loud conversation about collaboration.

Jack White is also someone who obviously enjoys pushing his own boundaries. If nothing else, he enjoys a challenge. He has collaborated with a huge range of people, from fellow blues lovers like Norah Jones and Alicia Keys (his more staid, sensible, commercial ventures) to Electric Six (another band with abundant evidence of a naughty, overblown, surreal and fantastic sense of humour). I think that, when you look at the personalities involved in this record, it actually seems quite natural.

I'm not saying that this song is destined for acclaim, or greatness, but I do think it's quietly brilliant. It is obviously a fun project, made with gusto, enjoyment and, I suspect, a lot of laughter and high fives in between sessions. That makes the overall effect energetic and mood boosting. Yes, some of the lyrics, especially the opening conversation (which is, if I'm being hyper-critical, a little clunky) are puerile and brash, maybe even clumsy, but they are also perfectly fitting. There is really no other option for the faux personalities of ICP - they must remain in character and in their own realm. That means mouthing off and mocking our world, and that is absolutely right for the performance.

Anyway, if you really can't learn to like the lyrics then I beg of you to ignore them and give the sound of the track a chance. It is, quite simply, beautiful.Opening with choral splendour and growing softly into beautifully played accompaniment by the backing band JEFF the Brotherhood, it is strong yet delicately crafted; intricate and operatic, yet defiantly pop culture.

When Jack White's guitar enters with a bold blast, it is as though there is a happy revolution in your ears. My heart soared and I could not stop my body from jerking me up into a bobbing dance of appreciation. His playing is an exquisite rapture that is at once an ode to the oddball genius that was Mozart and a perfect piece of strung poetry. It is raw and cultured; grungy and classic; rocking out and sipping expensive cocktails. It is the perfect bridge between the youthful Jack White that was and the mature, if madly unique, composer he is becoming.

The rap compliments this with a rhythm that exaggerates the rococo swirls of the lilting tune while lending it modernity. Even if you think what they are saying is stupid, then you cannot argue with how they are saying it. Their voices are impeccably timed and the quality of their speech uses the timbre of a drum. The clipped shouts act like vocal percussion, adding another layer to an accomplished piece.

The best thing about this song, though, apart from the dimple-making chuckles it produced in me, is how perfectly the layers fit together. Like jigsaw pieces, they slot in to create a whole. At each stage, you think the song is full until they add something else and you recognise that not only is it better with the addition, but that it could never be any other way. It feels like fate spreading before you in the timescale of the track. I will definitely be purchasing it. If it comes on in a club I will dance to it, sing to it, laugh to it, drink a toast to it, and open my heart to it. I predict it as the new 'alternative club' anthem, replacing great staples like 'Gay Bar' (Electric Six). I'm not saying it will change the world but it will probably make your night.

What's interesting is that arse-licking aside (probably), this song could be about either Jack White or ICP as much as it could Mozart. Like Mozart, all of them are ahead of their time, redefining the traditions of their age with deft experimentation. All of them inhabit several worlds, spanning popularity and obscure artistic interest. All of them with a dark underbelly; a hidden side that is as magnetic and appealing as it is impossible to grasp.

Comments (8)

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Top review. I can't say I agree about the actual song but you've put your view across in such a way that it's made me hear it differently.

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Nice review! I don't like the song either but if it helps get JEFF The Brotherhood more attention then that is cool.

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ICP are actually Christian fundamentalists aren't they? I remember reading an interview where they said lots of their songs actually had coded Christian messages in them. And I kind of don't mind the song, oddly.

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As far as I'm aware ICP are not actually Christian Fundamentalists. The idea that their songs contain coded Christian messages is part of their performance of their fantasy world. They are slowly unravelling 'truths' related to their initial...

As far as I'm aware ICP are not actually Christian Fundamentalists. The idea that their songs contain coded Christian messages is part of their performance of their fantasy world. They are slowly unravelling 'truths' related to their initial creation of themselves as heralds of the apocalypse. This is as much related to 'carnival spirit' and their 'Joker Card' albums as it is any Christian ethos. Basically their career is one long running gag, deliberately attempting to obscure understanding so that they can continue with the twists and turns of their play.

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awesome thank you

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awesome thank you this is an interesting read. I will ponder it....

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

awesome thank you this is an interesting read. I will ponder it....

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