Kleenex/Liliput (Kill Rock Stars)

Kleenex/Liliput 

Kleenex/Liliput (Kill Rock Stars)

When an underground band impacts the mainstream, interest usually trickles back to its influences. Nirvana moved a lot of Melvins and Meat Puppets records, and Green Day and The Offspring pointed young punks toward the Sex Pistols, TSOL and Social Distortion. When riot grrrl reached the peak of its popularity, music critics directed Bikini Kill fans toward pioneering all-female outfits such as The Slits and Kleenex. But when a band's records are out of print, as Kleenex's have been for several years, it's impossible to reap the benefits of such recommendations. Appropriately, Kill Rock Stars, the label that spurred the girl-rock revolution, came to the rescue, re-releasing two discs' worth of Kleenex (and later Liliput, after copyright lawyers reared their heads) material. It's an important reissue, one that Spin included on its list of the most crucial punk albums of all time, not only for its historical value but for the fact that its 46 songs remain impossibly fresh and vibrant.

Kleenex/Liliput's tunes offered a wealth of natural resources -- an inventive bass line here, a daring vocal overlap there, jagged and persistent riffs throughout -- that everyone from Elastica to Sleater-Kinney has obviously mined. One of the few groups able to make arty music irresistible and fun, Kleenex/Liliput balances the intimidating complexity of its guitar and bass interactions with nonsensical chants and call-and-response oohs, ahhs and whoops. Kleenex's earliest songs, perky short-lived jaunts powered by urgent guitars and emotive vocals, deliver simple thrills; the group gathered steam after becoming Liliput and adding saxophone player Angie Barrack. Whereas X-Ray Spex, another highly touted female-fronted punk group of the time, unleashed its saxist for garish, grating solos, Liliput allows Barrack to craft subtle melodies for its wordless choruses. Eventually, Liliput expanded its sound, ushering in tribal drums, rolling disco-style bass and jazzy free-form meandering, but even at its most experimental it retained its playful spirit.

One of its most complex compositions sports the silly title "Like or Lump It." It's like an organic version of Le Tigre -- all of the bouncy hooks and infectious personality, none of the electronic enhancement -- and fans of that group, as well as countless other punk groups from the past two decades, now have some highly enjoyable remedial listening to do.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Andrew Miller

Latest in Hear & Now

Facebook Activity

All contents ©2015 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation