The Ark

In Full Regalia

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The Ark continue to plunder the most kitschy, exuberant, and flamboyant music styles of yesteryear -- namely, glam rock and disco -- on their fifth album, which is also touched on the fringes by melancholia but cannot escape its own party-time nature. The guitars have a rock & roll vibe throughout, but of the sleazy, not rowdy kind -- this is nowhere near garage rock, and was not supposed to be. The beats are straight out of '70s dance music, and the vocals, including but not limited to Ola Salo's falsetto, soar to Queen-like bombast every now and then, although Freddie Mercury never sounded as intentionally silly at his thing. The description may seem simple, but the actual music is not -- the influences are mixed in elaborate and wildly varying proportions to produce a broad range of tunes, from "Have You Ever Heard a Song," a piece of almost absurd epicness, to the aptly named "Superstar," a song Kiss would have killed for back in 1979 (although it may be argued that they, in fact, wrote it and called it "I Was Made for Lovin' You"), or the dirty shin-kicker "Hygiene Squad," the lyrics of which are every bit as foolish as the title implies. For the most part, the album romps by in an energetic fashion, but there are plenty of slower, restrained cuts on In Full Regalia, too, which is not necessarily a good thing, because some, like "All Those Days," just plain drag. But on the whole, this record is still a compellingly clever piece of primitive, jangly fun -- a complex sonic pop culture game hell-bent on and succeeding in producing almost disgustingly catchy music.

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