Life Sex & Death

Picture of Life Sex & Death

The Silent Majority

Life Sex & Death - The Silent Majority ©1992 Reprise
1. Blue Velvet Moon/We're Here Now
2. Jawohl Asshole
3. School's For Fools
4. Telephone Call
5. Farm Song
6. Fuckin' Shit Ass
7. Hey Buddy
8. Train
9. Wet Your Lips
10. Tank
11. Raise A Little Hell
12. Guatemala
13. Big Black Bush
14. Rise Above

Towards the end of the glam rock era (though, by 1992, it can be argued that the glam movement was already flushed away), it took more than just a little makeup and mousse for a band to utilize a catchy gimmick. Life Sex & Death went a slightly different route in a prefabricated ruse to lure attention. Claiming their lead singer was a street bum who never showered, the band of pretties used this contrasting image as their gimmick. The singer in question, whose stage name is Stanley (but I believe was Chris Stann in reality), looked the part of the insane bum as well as properly conveyed it vocally. Think of the muttering hobo and you are halfway there. Stanley was actually quite capable of singing and as a direct contrast to the higher pitched frontmen of the era, he was a neat change of pace. Unfortunately, the band wavered between so many approaches and often languished away in juvenile lyrics and topics that what could have been a very interesting group instead became a joke. The Silent Majority is half full of great songs and half full of schlock and horrendously immature ideas. "Big Black Bush", "Wet Your Lips" and titles like "Fuckin' Shit Ass" not only come across as junior high in mentality, but in the case of the first two songs, are executed halfheartedly. The tendency for stylistic fence sitting is all over the place. "Fuckin' Shit Ass", believe it or not, has a great Cheap Trick flavored harmony in the chorus. "School's For Fools" is a lyrical idea even Motley Crue would have regarded as immature, though the song is catchy as hell. "Telephone Call" is a bit of a spiritual song, referring to Stanley's supposed telephone call to Jesus. "Farm Song" seems like something the Dead Milkmen might do. "Guatemala" is a strangely bluesy number and one of the more effective songs on the album. The album's most surprising and in fact, best song is the piano and vocals closing track, "Rise Above", which shows Stanley was extremely talented, regardless of the gimmicks. The album is brought down on a whole by a handful of very tedious and pedestrian numbers such as "Wet Your Lips" or "Tank". Without these clunkers, the album might have been more effective and the band wouldn't have received a tremendous critical backlash. Considering they vanished without much of a trace, it can be surmised their attempt at fame was stopped short. Probably a good thing. I don't think this concept would have worked for a second album, especially since the street person schtick could only go so far over music that lacked a true identity.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2000

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