The main problem with music that tries to be funny is that quite often the band pushes the joke at the expense of the tune. Add to that the fact that humor is subjective and that most jokes, even the best ones, can only be heard a few times before they start to get old, and you’ve got some serious work to do to make an album that is both funny and good. On their debut album, In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s, Let’s Wrestle get around these possible pitfalls the same way Art Brut did on Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Along with their humorously oddball lyrics, they write really hooky tunes and play the stuffing out of them. Working with the classic lineup of guitar-bass-drums-vocals with occasional keyboard, the U.K. band succeeds in making a record that elicits chuckles even after a few plays but also satisfies the needs of noise-loving indie rockers who might be tired of whiny, self-centered lyrics about love. Wesley Patrick Gonzalez does sing about girls occasionally (mainly about his lack of success with them), but he’s more liable to delve into subjects like Lady Diana’s hair, his schedule, and the oddities and travails of being a weirdo (in a good way). He sings the songs in a pleasingly arch, somewhat flat voice while he and the band bash out fairly rudimentary chords, usually residing firmly in the midtempo region but sometimes revving up (the title track, "Tanks") or slowing down for some balladry ("I’m in Fighting Mode," "Song for Old People"). Hints of the Wedding Present abound, both in Gonzalez’s vocals and in the heavy guitars, as does a welcome nod to the similarly off-kilter Lawrence and his band Denim on the record’s catchiest song, "We Are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon." Along with the humorous songs come the occasional tunes like the desperate "My Schedule" or the sweetly melancholy "In Dreams" that reach for a little more emotion. This shift in tone helps give the record some variety and is another reason why Let’s Wrestle escape being one-joke ponies. They do a first-rate job blending humor, emotion, and energy on In the Court; it’s a tricky routine to master but they’ve done it impressively right out of the gate.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra