Spacehog Resident Alien
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- by Toadies ~ Rubberneck (20th Anniversary Edition) (180GV) ~ $17.50
- Released: October 24, 1995
- Label: Rhino Mod Afw
- 1.In the Meantime
- 4.Candy Man
- 5.Space Is the Place
- 6.Never Coming Down, Pt. 1
- 7.Cruel to Be Kind
- 8.Ship Wrecked
- 9.Only a Few
- 10.The Last Dictator
- 11.Never Coming Down, Pt. 2
- 13.To Be a Millionaire...Was It Likely
Spacehog: Royston Langdon (vocals, bass, Moog, Hammond B-3, synthesizer); Antony Langdon (guitar, vocals, synthesizer, Hammond B-3, Moog); Richard Steel (guitar); Jonny Cragg (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Sean (background vocals).
Recorded at Bearsville Studios, New York.
All songs written or co-written by Antony Langdon and/or Royston Langdon.
There's no denying the strong influence of '70's glam rockers like David Bowie and T. Rex on RESIDENT ALIEN. A few songs, like "Starside," sound uncannily like early Bowie, complete with spaceship sound effects. However, Spacehog goes far beyond just retro appeal, partly because of their refusal to take themselves seriously. Even their most hostile, snarling lyrics are bursting with wit, and the glittery surface of their music is simply the slick icing on top of a substantial cake made of gritty, rocking guitar and solid drum work.
The icing includes Royston Langdon's theatrical vocals and strutting, stylish songwriting, which includes tongue-in-cheek lyrics like "So if you raise a glass/To love you passed/Raise a glass to me" (from "Shipwrecked"). Spacehog enjoys this kind of melodramatic posing, both in their lyrics and in their music, but they don't lose track of a song's dynamics, and their strong sense of timing lends a sharp edge to each track, never allowing its essence to get lost in the zealous glitter.
Personnel: Antony Langdon (vocals, guitar, Moog synthesizer); Royston Langdon (vocals, Moog synthesizer, bass guitar); Richard Steel (guitar); Johnny Cragg (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Spacehog; Bryce Goggin.
Unknown Contributor Role: Royston Langdon.
British but based in New York, Spacehog's publicity material would have you believe the group resurrects the glam heyday of vintage Bowie and Mott the Hoople (even disingeniously referring to them as "the band who fell to earth"). It's all well and good to set your sights high, but the hype creates expectations that Resident Alien is incapable of delivering, despite the blatant Ziggy Stardust vocal inflections of "Starside" and "Zeroes." There's no doubt that this awkwardly-named combo attack their chosen retro-glam vocation with panache, flash, and good humor, but there's ultimately not a lot of substance behind the theatrical pose and fat Gibson runs. With few exceptions (there's no denying the preening bulls-eye of "Never Coming Down") the songwriting tends to be fairly frothy. Still, I'd take a dose of Resident Alien any day over yet another cold dish of serious, mystically dour, faux-acid rock Doors/Led Zep wannabes. Ironically, by homogenizing the Brit-glam sound in their manner, Spacehog may just succeed in bridging to U.S. audiences who often have difficulty relating to the "Britishness" of the latest U.K. wave. ~ Roch Parisien
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