Speedking
The Fist and The Laurels
Tigerstyle
2002
B

i wish I could have owned this record when I was six. It would have been the perfect accompaniment to spazzing out after ingesting two Mountain Dews and a couple of 50/50 bars. My parents would probably have wanted to shatter this disc to bits. It’s twitchy rhythms and hyperactive guitars make we want to dance the way I did when I was six; arms at my side with fingers pointed out, neck and head back, facing the sky, legs hopelessly pounding the sidewalk as I jerked my torso back and forth. This should have been playing as I was ramming my pink bike, with the fringe coming out of the handlebars, into all the older, eight year old boys on my block.


The music included on this two disc set, is the “lost” Speedking record, and then a second disc of all of their 7” recordings. This “lost” record was the full length that these noisy kids recorded, but for some reason or another, never quite got around to releasing. I don’t know the exact reasons why, and for the life of me, I can’t think of any reasons it shouldn’t have been released. It’s that good. Speedking is one of those bands that I wish I had known about before they were no more. I’ll be stuck longing for another album that will never come. Apparently, they had a pretty amazing live act too. Drat. Every song on here makes me want to hear it in person. I would kill to have the pounding, repetitive clatter of “Hearts and Flowers” give me terrible tinitus. I can even see myself doing some sort of more grown-up version of my twitchy six year old pavement pounding dance to the stop-start guitars and short blasts of keyboard on “Millionth Monkey”. If this stuff doesn’t get all those kids with shaggy black hair and pointy boots dancing, I don’t think anything will.


The second disc of collected 7 inches is a bit rougher around the edges than the first. Not because it’s a collection of songs, rather than a fully formed and conceived album, but mainly because the songs themselves are far more raw and jarring than the songs that make up the lost album. The singles also don’t have any female vocals from Miriam Maltagliati, whose sing-songy voice tends to soften the songs a bit.


Although I could do without the few keyboard based interludes on this set, album closer “Mannikin” and “Tender Interlude” on the singles collection disc, most of the use of keyboards is smartly done here. Little textures, atmospheric buzz, and raspberry Moog farts actually add to the songs, instead of just tacking crap on for the sake of trying to make something more interesting. All of this without sounding like some new wave revival band. In fact, most labels or genres don’t really apply to Speedking, because there music seems to come from everywhere at once. There are bits of angular Fugazi-like guitar, moments of early Sonic Youth guitar grandeur, and at times they even remind me of Quickspace, only not quite so whimsical, and far tougher. Go ahead and call it punk if you like. But, I think you would be selling them short.


Reviewed by: Colleen Delaney
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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