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2007-04-30My review: The Hot Puppies - Over My Dead Body

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[Over My Dead Body]

www.thehotpuppies.com
www.myspace.com/thehotpuppies

Track listing:

1. I Left My Heart Lining The Ocean Bed
2. Party
3. Closed To Sin
4. Blood On The Moon
5. A Small Killing (On This Day)
6. Turn Your Eyes To Me
7. Harum Scarum
8. All We've Got To Do Is Kiss
9. Adam Walton BBC Intro
10. Relentless
11. Girl Crazy
12. Eat Your Makeup
13. Under The Crooked Moon
14. The Band Keeps Playing Just For You
Described on the back as "strays, black sheep and bsides 2003-2005" this partner to last year's debut album (Under the Crooked Moon) is fairly comprehensive and really good fun — more a second album than a compilation. The only b-side from that period absent is Just Like a Roman Candle, Joe... which isn't a crushing loss, and if you're a completist type you need to hang onto the Green Eyeliner CD (not the version on the album) and Dawn Of Man single (not on an album) anyway.

I Left My Heart opens with the gentle swoosh of seaside waves. It's been available on Myspace before now, and was the band's contribution to a "50 minutes" charity compilation last year. Few bands do bittersweet as well as the Puppies.

Party sounds different to the MP3 version that was up on the band website for ages, but it might just be the fact I've recently replaced my speakers... it's classic early THP, moving at a striding pace with lots of high-pitched keyboards, like a cross between punk and cabaret.

Closed To Sin was one of the b-sides to Dawn Of Man, the other (Baptist Boy) being promoted to the long-awaited album. CTS is also about dissolution, and borrowing from my earlier review: "replete with crushing drums and precise effects. Rising from reflective to brazen and smoothly back and forth, it's in turns haunting, shouted and sweet." Love that theremin.

Blood On The Moon is new to me, and honestly isn't particularly memorable. It isn't unpleasant either, but the lyrics are rather generic and, for purposes of getting the album and OMDB onto one 80 minute CDR, chances are this'll be the track that gets dropped. Sorry to be so Anne Robinson-ish.

A Small Killing (On This Day) has always been a favourite of mine. It's an "our time will come" song about fleecing people, sung with such positive joy as to be infectious.

Turn Your Eyes To Me is a track I knew as I Don't Have You, which got some live play. Lots of swagger, punchy drums and other background instrument flourishes. Following track Harum Scarum continues that focus on instruments, and got a limited release towards the end of last year on the Green Eyeliner vinyl. Theremin and harmonies make for a very pleasant listen.

All We've Got To Do Is Kiss was the second b-side to the original Green Eyeliner, and is up there with A Small Killing — it'd work incredibly well on a soundtrack to the right film. Something with a love scene, and maybe a woman dressed in white standing on a cliff or pier at night. Ooer, missus. It's rather sultry.

Relentless was done for an Adam Walton Show session on BBC Radio Wales, which gives it a wonderful stripped-down home recording feel and sets the vocals high in the mix. Love the runaway instruments after "I just want... to fall apart with you..."

Girl Crazy is another track new to me, a gently rioting bit of fun with synth and a break-out horn section. The lyrics touch on youthful infidelity and I'd guess were begun around the time of the All Washed Up EP — it just has that feel and teasing edge.

Eat Your Make Up ... "Since you went away I've been praying, I've been hoping that the Messerschmidts of time will be more unkind... but oh, it seems you're getting younger, younger all the time... if you get any younger, you'll be born the day you die. So eat your make up, and you're pretty on the inside." What can I add to that? It's like P.G. Wodehouse set to music.

Under The Crooked Moon comes from the The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful single, and to recap "wouldn't be out of place in a live action Tim Burton film." Ideal for a halloween spin on the floor, and would I be right in thinking those are Wurlitzer organ tones later on? After which The Band Keep Playing Just For You, appropriately, plays us out... restful keyboards at an agreeable swaying pace, just long enough for a last dance. It reminds me very slightly of Bed Of Roses by Bon Jovi.

This is a pressed disc and there's a barcode on the back of the sleeve, but no sign of a record label on the packaging or the site (plus a catalogue number of THP001, all of which suggests it'll be direct-from-the-band only.) Anyway, as a release OMDB really hits the spot — some new stuff, some classics, and some tracks I've wanted on CD since I heard them. Those to whom this is all new are in for a treat; it's a bit more raw, eclectic and playful than the debut album (and represents the band as I was introduced to them back in Aber several years ago rather well, in style if not song selection.)

I'll type up lyrics and add them into this post when I get chance. In the meantime, have a listen to whatever tracks you can find on Myspace or their site, and rest assured that the material here is of just as much interest. Well worth ordering.


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