In the wake of their cinemascope epic Hilarious Heaven (the double-vinyl package of which is due to be released – finally! – by Dead Meadow’s Xemu Records sometime in April), it’s only natural that the Joshua Tree-based duo – pronounced Detective, for inscrutable reasons – would attempt something more focused than that sprawling, prog-punk marathon for their follow-up.
The third full-length LP in the band’s brief existence (not including EPs, singles, compilations, and karaoke parties), Uptime! finds the French-American post-whatever combo sharpening their claws on a relentless sequence of concise, hook-laden, buzzsaw-guitar-drenched power pop songs that owe as much to Debbie Harry as to Wire (it’s no accident that DTCV covered Blondie’s “In the Sun” on a recent 7″). Moreover, Uptime!’s lite-brite incandescence masks a seriousness of intent and a work ethic that would put Jack White to shame if he weren’t a robot incapable of human feeling.
Frontperson Guylaine Vivarat (AKA Vivarock), who writes and sings and plays guitar and bass and keyboards on the majority of the band’s songs, is a native of a small village in the French alps, which is sort of like being a native of a small village in Colorado, except French. Having traded the redneck paradise of her hometown for the cultural inferno of the West Coast (after a brief stop at the Sorbonne to complete an advanced degree in international politics), she brings a uniquely continental and neo-anarchist perspective to DTCV’s primary-color noise. On “Miley Cyrus Wins the Race,” for example, she takes familiar 60s girl-group tropes and twists them into something altogether darker and more cathartic, alternately celebrating/damning past demons in the name of rebellious post-teens everywhere.
Guitarist James Greer (AKA Fiat Lux) adds his own mostly lit-and-cinema inspired influences – he’s published two novels and written movies for Lindsay Lohan, Jackie Chan, Benicio del Toro, and Steven Soderbergh, to drop a ripe bunch of heavy grapes in your lap – to his coupla-three contributions, e.g. the Nabokov-and-Cronenberg referencing “Invitation to a Beheading,” at the end of which he pits himself against himself in a two-minute shredding contest. Just, you know, because. A battery of drummers (this is a better joke in French) rounds out the Uptime! sound, but if you don’t get it by now, friends, odds are you never will, and that would be a shame. Any band that includes a Sabbath-heavy anthem called “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Song” on the same record as an acoustic ballad with choir called “California Girl” (wherein “Hope I don’t fuck everything up” is the salient lyric) and makes it work has just changed music forever. Or something like that. Wake up and smell the biochemicals.
2/19 – Seattle, WA – Lo-If Gallery
2/21 – Portland, OR – Smart Collective (all ages)
3/18 – 3/19 – Austin, TX – SXSW
3/22 – Jacksonville, FL – Burro Bar
3/24 – Birmingham, AL – Bottle Tree Lounge
3/25 – Athens, GA – Caledonia
3/26 – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
3/27 – Washington DC – Velvet Lounge
3/28 – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right
3/29 – Boston, MA – O’Briens Pub
3/30 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
4/1 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub
4/2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
4/3 – Iowa City, IA – Mission Creek
4/4 – Omaha, NE- O’Leavers
4/5 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
4/7 – Salt Lake City, UT – Diabolical Records
4/8 – Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar
2. X Water
3. Early Alone
4. Don’t Be Stupid
5. Miley Cyrus Wins The Race
6. Bay of Pigs
7. It’s a Stealer
8. Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction Song
9. Invitation to a Beheading
10. Last Lonely Man
11. California Girl
12. Radio Drive