Release Date: Mar 23, 2010
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
There's something just that smidgen more earnest about Let's Wrestle. More earnest than who? Well, most of their contemporaries, for a start. Bands who clearly appear to be influenced by the Americano school of guitar rock yet do not so obviously ape it. 'Taking the good and adding the English accent' is what you could say.
It's an utter shambles, but submission's virtually mandatory... The Husker Du-lionising and strategic swearing of earlier releases might be absent, but Let's Wrestle's copious charms are otherwise very much in force on their full-length debut. They're a comedic, careering proposition, all speaker-flinging guitars, furiously fluid bass (most notably on 'We Are The Men You'll Grow To Love Soon' and courtesy of the magnificently monikered Mike Lightning) and distracted-yet-impassioned hollering about Gedge-esque insecurity ('My Arms Don't Bend That Way, Damn It!'), bedsit schlock ('Insects') and the outright weirdness of the fetishising fandom of a certain deceased princess (the outstanding 'Diana's Hair').
"We are the men you'll grow to love soon," goes one of the catchiest choruses from In the Court of the Wrestling Let's, the wry and lovably buffoonish debut album from London's Let's Wrestle. It's difficult, however, to tell whether they're mocking themselves (as in, "I'm not about to change any time soon, so get used to this") or apologizing ("I know I'm a mess right now, but bear with me, I'm working on it"). The tension between those two poles-- refusing to grow up and yearning to move on-- is the emotional engine that drives the band and its impressively confident record.
It's pretty clear right off the bat why Merge might want to pick up Let's Wrestle's debut album and release it in the U.S. Merge has, after all, been leading the Western Hemisphere in releases by New Zealand indie rockers. And those jangly guitars and loose drums that Let's Wrestle feature share more than a passing glance with all that Kiwi-pop. Of course, the other thing that's apparent from word one is that the members of Let's Wrestle aren't from New Zealand.
The main problem with music that tries to be funny is that quite often the band pushes the joke at the expense of the tune. Add to that the fact that humor is subjective and that most jokes, even the best ones, can only be heard a few times before they start to get old, and you’ve got some serious work to do to make an album that is both funny and good. On their debut album, In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s, Let’s Wrestle get around these possible pitfalls the same way Art Brut did on Bang Bang Rock & Roll.
Don't let the art rock homage in the album's title mislead you. There's nothing progressive about London's Let's Wrestle. They probably couldn't be bothered to put in the effort to be that proficient about anything. Except maybe drinking. Somehow that seems entirely essentially to their musical id ….