Release Date: May 17, 2011
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Let’s Wrestle haven’t written a sweeping, decades-spanning concept album about daily life in Britain throughout the industrial revolution. They haven’t started using foreign instruments with names comprised of more than two syllables to make sounds that they insist were only inspired by music created pre-1918, (because, well, that’s all they listen to now anyway). They haven’t penned a portentous lament (with a delicate undercurrent of hope) about conflict in the Middle East, and they haven’t even written a song that’s a metaphor for the war in Afghanistan.
After a fairly brilliant debut album, you might expect Let’s Wrestle to struggle a little bit on the follow-up, Nursing Home. Maybe the jokes wouldn’t be as oddball and funny, maybe the songs would be a little dull or rote, maybe the sound would be slicked-up and tired. Maybe it would sound like a less-interesting carbon copy of the charmingly goofy, surprisingly emotional, slightly lunky indie rock of In the Court of the Wrestling Let's.
English indie rockers Let’s Wrestle could easily be that band your little brother and his friends formed in your parents’ garage in 1995. Tapping the fountain of grunge for frenetic guitar licks, distracted, often lazy vocals and crashing percussion helps them to produce an effortlessly enjoyable sound. The tracks are all blazingly short and contain lyrics about punching Pokémon in the face and finding a rock star in your room.
The attachment one holds to the lackadaisical years of adolescence will generally differ depending on the environment one grows up. However, certain themes resonate as wholly universal: joy, angst, naïve heartbreak, defiance, and wonder. In popular music, the past few years have brought a string of thought provoking records that chronicle the years of lost innocence with a very mature outlook.
[a]Let’s Wrestle[/a] must be feeling smug. It’s not long since their magnetic slacker-punk debut and already they’ve got Steve Albini on production duties. He’s tightened all the screws on [b]‘Nursing Home’[/b], cranked and cleaned up the guitar riffs and limited the album to a more manageable 12 tracks (down from 16 on their first).Lyrically, they’ve kept the sour cocktail of British humour and American apathy, but the suburbs they’re singing about are getting creepier.
Thanks to Odd Future, one of indie's biggest talking points over the past few months has been boys behaving badly. Adolescent and slightly post-adolescent males-- their anger, humor, ennui, cruelty, sensitivity, and self-pity-- have been scrutinized by all manner of thinkpiece-penners and armchair sociologists. A measure of each of those qualities is present in the bratty Brit-punk trio Let's Wrestle and its sophomore effort, Nursing Home.
All the experts say you ought to start them young. Buy your kid an electric guitar for their tenth birthday and they’ll be bringing home the gold at the high school talent show by the age of 15. There’s also a fairly high risk that they’ll be burnt out and jaded before they’re old enough to buy cigarettes. We’ve seen scores of absurdly energetic bands explode onto the scene while all of their members are still teenagers.
An undeniably impressive second album – more Philip Larkin than Mark E. Smith. David Sheppard 2011 North London trio Let’s Wrestle have been with us since 2007 when, as precocious teens, they unveiled their smart-yet-indolent take on classic underground rock disenfranchisement – The Fall meets Buzzcocks in 21st century suburbia, effectively – immediately gaining favour with scenesters like Art Brut’s Eddie Argos and landing them a deal with bijou indie imprint, Stolen.