King Kongo / Plastic Fangs: King Kongo Vs. Plastic Fangs [Split CS]

- If you give a Brisbanite a guitar you can be certain that sounds they’ll make will be either a discordant reiteration of post-blues or a reincarnation of jangle pop. Sometimes they live long enough to meld the two and birth a Blank Realm. The King Kongo / Plastic Fangs split tape lands firmly in the former. King Kongo are like that notorious cane-toad you can’t help but love and respect, because of its admirable capacity for life even after taking a beating; while The Plastic Fangs are your liquorice allsort garage band: sticky, disconcertingly digestible and capable of a harrowing sugar rush.

Perhaps greater than a cane toad, King Kongo present like rock music’s Andy Kaufman or rather Kaufman’s character Tony Clifton: Campari stained ruffles and a penchant for making noise that is comedic in the way it dumps a lost cause in your lap, satirising what was once a luxurious form. The failed jokes, the poorly executed surf rock, their tawdry charm comes from the lazy idea that rock is dead. On the side, if you hear anyone say that, point them in the direction of Jen Cloher. King Kongo willingly open themselves up to ridicule, as if their performance is a mode of atonement, being flagellated by the crowd’s contempt, unsure whether they’re witnessing a garage operetta or some disconcerting performance art.

The Plastic Fangs present a conceptually more rigorous front for rock ’n’ roll. Straight up, Plastic Fangs is a top notch name for such a project in an age where the gang, the rock n roll band is a largely ineffectual concept for those who have no romantic or nostalgic affiliation to the idea. Beyond the cultural form, sonically, the Fangs are a lil’ more adventurous, covering their usual gamut of surf, swamp and psych rock: remaining colourful and sweet amongst mutant viscosity. The stand out song is Kickback, one of the most engaging pieces of classical power-pop that I’ve heard this side of the Buzzcocks or The Replacements.

Releasing tapes is simultaneously a superlatively novel and respectable endeavour. Almost like sending Voyager I into deep space, carrying Chuck Berry’s controversial Johnny B. Goode for the aliens to enjoy: you’re sealing these adolescent forms within durable plastic and time. Someday some kid may well dust off this garish tape and discover the potent pairing of King Kongo and The Plastic Fangs. Representations of both Brisbane's raucous underbelly and its romanticism, wrapped up in how garage rockers are only concerned with being the most red-hot conduit for energy and abandon.

- NJR.

Album Details

Album Title: King Kongo Vs. Plastic Fangs [Split CS]
Artist: King Kongo / Plastic Fangs
Record Label: (Valley Heat)