Gargamel's third release, The New Tenderness, will please faithful fans and bring in a whole slew of new ones. The cd artwork is so good that the entertainment starts before hearing the first tune. Surprises await and will hit you with the opening track, 'Hey Everybody'. After getting your mind right and bracing yourself for noise, 'Hey Everybody' is a perfect reminder that no one should think they've got Gargamel's number. Swank, sexy, equally spooky and funny; this tune is a new road trip must. The New Tenderness indeed. Understand, that this recording is no less intense than their previous work, it's just that the dynamics are much more effective. The subject matter is still dark but conveyed with far less of the usual profanity. For those that miss that sort of thing, Gargamel's live shows continue to give good doses.
Mandaddy's vocalizations have always boggled the mind yet The New Tenderness shows him reaching even greater technical heights. The balance between singing and screaming is more discriminate. When the screams come with this latest recording they hit harder than ever, yet overall, this album is more fun to listen to than the others.
The entire band has harnessed this odd mixture of aggression with suave overtones. 'Little Milk Belly (upgrade)' shouldn't be sexy, but what can you do? Gargamel's new take on this original track from Revulva is a complete re-working that fits perfectly in its new skin. Professor Knuckles weaves between slick harmonic guitar fills to metal chords of gut busting crunchy goodness. Also, Mandaddy sings better than ever and sounds colossal on 'Little Milk Belly'.
The New Tenderness shows all of these musicians in top form. Highlights include Webb's unequaled ownership of 'Daddy Needs Money', Crazy Hector's eruptive lines on 'Grim Reaper' and his slap funk freak-out on 'Chowder Cough' gets your booty shaking. As always, Servobeonic Man brings out the laughs, yet his supreme ability can't be overlooked. He works within a spectrum of fathomless dimensions and could easily be a one-man encyclopedic example of what the keys can do.
Gargamel's formidable live shows are such a free-for-all that the chance to hear Professor Knuckles' studio work is a treat. 'Hey Everybody' and 'Little Milk Belly' offer particularly impressive nuances that might get lost live. 'Failure Machine' shows that there probably isn't a musical genre that he can't handle.
KATIE BALL - Any good music?