Human Sexual Response

In a Roman Mood

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"Andy Fell," "Pound," and "Land of the Glass Pinecones" are three extraordinary pieces of music on an equally extraordinary album. For those who felt producer Mike Thorne missed the mark with 'Til Tuesday and some of the Shirts' Street Light Shine album, he redeems himself here recording this essential Boston band with both accuracy -- something many of the contemporaries of Human Sexual Response failed to get -- and great production. Andy didn't fall in "Andy Fell," nor was he pushed. He jumped. It's a song about suicide at a dormitory, a frightening and haunting prophecy, since this practice had come into vogue at campuses around Boston in the late '90s. The drums on "Marone Offering" kick right in, as does Rich Gilbert's incessant guitar. The band's genius was generated by the multiple vocalists fronting a perfect rock unit. Imagine a hard rock Temptations during their experimental period fronted by the B-52's. It's a strange mixture that worked, thanks to a combination of talents, all who contributed mightily. "Keep a Southern Exposure" is not one of the band's more well-known tunes, but it provides insight towards their unlimited creativity and ability to execute. Discovered by Don Rose, who went on to form the legendary Rykodisc label before it was purchased by Chris Blackwell, the two HSR Passport Audio albums were re-released on Eat Records, distributed by Rykodisc. Eat was Don Rose's imprint prior to the creation of Rykodisc.

"Blow Up" is the closest HSR came to sounding like the B-52's, a violent song about destruction with the classic line "faster pussycats kill kill." "House of Atreus" is a strange one, a long Larry Bangor epistle which leads into what might be their finest moment, "Land of the Glass Pinecones." This song takes the theme of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" even deeper. Though "What Does Sex Mean to Me" from the first album got into the film Threesome, and while both the demo and LP version of "Jackie O'Nassis" became hits, as well as their signature tune, "Land of the Glass Pinecones" is a sacred moment in modern rock. It's pure magic with intense voices and blitzing bass and guitars. Members of this band branched off to become the Zulus, while Dini Lamot re-emerged as the successful and highly notorious drag queen Musty Chiffon, who includes "Jackie O'Nassis" in his stage act. Outside of a few "reunion" gigs, this essential act is no more, yet In a Roman Mood remains a tremendous work of art just waiting to be rediscovered. Seek out the 12" single of "Pound" from this LP.

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