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+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Cex - Actual Fucking
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+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
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+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
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+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Andrew W.K.
I Get Wet

The joke of this record is that there's not a single joke on this record. Check the song titles for any hint of insincerity, the photos inside for any hipster garbage, the lyrics for even one line that sounds false. It's a forceful and genuine record — and if it weren't, if the odor of irony pervaded even one of its 12 pummeling tracks, it would undoubtedly have already landed in the dollar bin.

That said, the anachronistic quality of an '80s cheese-rock album being released two decades late might bring some smiles to the faces of a group of music fans too young to remember when that music filled the AM dial. Not derisive or haughty smiles, though; rather, mostly affirmations of agreement. It's hard to listen to I Get Wet and not get some amusement or pleasure from it, hard to play "It's Time to Party" and not feel that Andrew W.K.'s got a pretty good point, hard to hear "Don't Stop Living in the Red" and not raise your fist in the air and give a rebel yell.

The songs themselves are frantic, immediate bursts of energy with lyrics that are motivated and motivational — the musical equivalent of the Tourettes-like dance moves W.K. practices onstage. It's a heavy-metal Wall of Sound, with an indeterminate number of guitars providing a driving background for surprisingly quirky keyboard lines. W.K. began his musical career playing his songs solo on a keyboard (he's a classically trained pianist), dancing around like a lunatic alone on a stage while singing along. Thankfully, he got himself a band and brought the keyboard with him. There's a circus-y quality to these songs that makes his blood-streaked face on the cover of the record somehow less intimidating.

"Party Hard," the big single, is a call to arms for the disenfranchised and disappointed, the workaday folks whose redemption lies somewhere towards the end of the seventh beer of the night. The antidote for hard work? A hard party. W.K. is as serious about partying as he thinks you should be, and that's pretty darn serious. With conviction in his slightly deranged deep scream, W.K. repeats "Let's get a party goin', let's get a party goin'!" I think I'd decline an invitation to any party W.K. might be throwing, but it's nice to hear the sentiment all the same.

I Get Wet is music as affirmation, a positive message about living, um, hard — and partying, too. It's simultaneously refreshing and amusing. And it rocks hard.

by Neal Block

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