Adam & The Ants
Dirk Wears White Sox
p and at ‘em, Adam Ant! Sorry, I was briefly channelling a terrible Hanna Barbara cartoon there for a moment. This is the spangly new reissue of Dirk Wears White Sox, featuring the usual entourage of bonus tracks and a distinct lack of diddly-qua-qua. You see, this was before all that highwayman malarkey. Dirk slips somewhere between The Banshee’s Scream and Gang of Four’s Entertainment; all stark, angular and brittle. It’s probably a terribly important record, but I’m mostly interested in hearing Prince Charming sing about bondage and JFK.
Who will be up for buying this record? Presumably a fair few post-punk devotees, keen to see the Antmaster’s take on such matters (as I was myself). Mayhap some long-time fans will decide this is a timely moment to replace their copy with a remastered version. Possibly a few collectors will fancy a sniff of the extra material. Perhaps there’ll even be a couple of sleeve fetishists unconsciously drawn to the lovely gatefold packaging. Freaks.
Who will emerge from this edition of reissue roulette with a metaphorical new yacht? Who will open the box, only to find Bruce Forsyth’s gurning, disembodied head? Who indeed.
The post-punk crowd should certainly find plenty to enjoy. From the semi-disconnected, two part antics of “Cartrouble” onwards, it’s an exciting adventure through the jungle of spidery, fuzzed-up guitar lines and weird, yelpy vocal delivery. “Nine Plan Failed” raised my expectations by possibly being about Plan Nine From Outer Space, but instead seems to detail some kind of horrific military experiments. Such is life. JFK pops up to deliver some words of wisdom through wiry noises on “Catholic Day”, The Beatles are nodded at in the midst of “Family of Noise” and the infamous Egyptian queen apparently gives a great deal of great head throughout “Cleopatra”. Sex and religion run riot through the lyrical imagery—paired up like a hilariously mismatched sitcom couple once again.
Remastering quality is somewhat tricky to effectively judge, having not heard any earlier versions. However, I can attest to the overall crispness of this version—leading me to assume that a decent job has been done. Whether someone would want to purchase Dirk 2004 on the strength of the bonus material is probably entirely dependent (as ever) upon how much you already own. It seems wisely chosen on the whole; both “Zerox” and “Cartrouble” 7” singles (with their respective b-sides) and the full 12” Antmusic EP. Pleasingly, the cheerful bondage theme continues apace through “Whip In My Valise” and “Physical”. A few choice BBC sessions would have tied everything together (oh ho!) rather nicely, but perhaps that’s just me being greedy for some hot, hot John Peel action.
Gatefold obsessives can rejoice. The sleeve is lush.
A fairly loving reissue, then. And no less than this rather marvellous record of jagged jitters deserves. Interestingly, Dirk sounds a great deal more contemporary than later Ants material (“Goody Two Shoes” et al). A sign of current trends, one supposes. Cars, whips and God—who could ask for more? Not a bondage-loving priest, that’s for sure. Follow his example and give these White Sox a try. And please, no ANTics-based puns. Thanks.