O'Gonzo — Vigorous Kids
The apparent seams and tough leather of a pair of Jim Morrison’s trousers? The cover of "Vigorous Kids" looks like the ultimate fashion accessory apology. In reality, the band is once again thumbing its nose at all types of marketing and to the star-system in particular. Natives of Cincinnati, O'Gonzo have always made fun of the failings of the major music labels, and of the bands who play their game. In this opus, Travis Jones and his consorts go all out on those they describe as the "sick showbiz freaks", i.e., musicians who think more of their bank accounts than of the artistic integrity of their albums. Their ammunition? Industrial metal with riffs as sharp as circular saws, capable of slicing up "baby stars" as in "Red Carpet", the album’s heavy and suffocating opening track. Their influences (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Rammstein, amongst others) are passed through a crusher and regurgitated as a ritenuto, a slow tempo that could be compared to a slowly sinking continent overshadowed with an omnipresent threat of an imminent earthquake. Indeed, tremors are numerous throughout the album, from the explosion of decibels in "Slain (Touch My Skin)" that brings up the subject of necrophilia in Hollywood, to "Between My Legs" that includes the screeching of women in distress, then addressing the carnage wrought by a 6-month old infant in rural Texas ("W.T.F.", a satire on the 2nd Amendment). Often compared to Killdozer, O'Gonzo maintain their morbid inclinations without losing their (very dark) sense of humour. Indeed, they master their art whilst knowing exactly when to pull back thus circumventing the listeners revulsion. Witness "Martin Sheen Memories" and the track’s refreshing staccato, full of life, that makes one nearly forget that the chorus is spewed through a megaphone. A welcome respite before the powerhouse rise of the last three tracks (notably the sublime "Catalina"), that reflect on a world in peril. Gonzo music is born.