Alien Nosejob, Lafff Box, Ex White
ALIEN NOSEJOB (AUS)
Jake Robertson shoehorns an encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll history into blistering, shout-along songs that skewer all-time idols and punk wannabes in his Melbourne bray. The opening “Beatles Vs. Stones” is the best and funniest cut on this disc, its galloping beat and clanging power chords punctuating a rant that comes down to “frankly neither.” Or as Robertson puts it, near the end, “The argument has no meaning and the notion always stinks. Everybody knows the answer to the question is the Kinks.”
Robertson has been in and out of Aussie bands for at least a decade. His best-known project is probably the Devo-esque Ausmuteants, but he’s also played in Hierophants, School Damage, Snooze Fest and multiple other outfits. Alien Nose Job is his one-man, bedroom recording project, but if such a phrase puts you in mind of vulnerable, lo-fi crooning, think again. The latter half of Stained Glass sounds an awful lot like AC/DC. There are rupturing riffs, torrid guitar explosions and explosive pinch squalls in this particular bedroom, and possibly a stack of Marshalls to jump off.
Robertson’s main theme is the fallen state of rock and roll, calcified by hero worship and beset by talentless follow-ons. Taut, skeletal “RnR Rubbish Bin” gets it best in barked-out lines like “We’ve all made a point of recycling what’s been done/similar to the originals but sucking out all the fun,” and, even better, “They play without the swing/ they play without the soul, they concentrate on rock and forget about the roll.” And yet, though he bemoans the attack of the clones, he’s pretty good at homage. “Coastal Living 2” gives off a big whiff of “Back in Black” in its sharp, staccato riffs and crazily hoarse and trebly vocal mayhem.
When Jon Shaw reviewed Alien Nose Job’s last album in 2020, he made the connection to Jay Reatard, noting the “impossibly quick riffing, compulsively barked vocals, a bug-eyed vibrancy that has a vaguely psychotic aura.” This time, Robertson is still fast, rough and bug-eyed, but he aims further back into a rock history that he evidently knows very well.