The Cosmopolitans

Wild Moose Party: Pom Pom Girls Gone New Wave NYC 1980-1981

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The continued excavation of some of new wave's more random corners turns up trumps with this collection of all the songs done by the Cosmopolitans, at heart a duo of Jamie K. Sims and Nel Moore. While bearing a similarity to fellow Southerners the B-52's, something acknowledged by the group as well as liner note author Parke Puterbaugh, it's much more a case of similar obsessions -- good times and dance crazes, a loving fondness for space-age/middle-class trash culture from a couple of decades previous, and the luck to find a supportive audience in New York City. Named after a merry B-side, inspired by Sims' huge cat, Wild Moose Party's lead track was the group's most famous, "(How to Keep Your) Husband Happy," remaking a late-'50s exercise song for housewives into a brisk, tight-ass groove of a number that has more going on in under three minutes time than most bands' careers. Brilliantly sarcastic spoken word delivery, a great arrangement with further help from Mitch Easter, complete immediacy throughout -- it's a perfect song then and now. Nearly everything follows from there at the same near-breakneck pace, and the sheer joie de vivre of the performances -- balancing off a careful cool with a barely contained exuberance, helped along by plenty of "crowd vocals" from friends in classic '60s Nuggets frat rock style -- rules all. Covering nine studio tracks and two live numbers at the end, it's nonstop fun and one can only wish there had been even more songs available. The sharp humor of the band is its own killer touch, with songs like "Chevy Baby" -- celebrating, as it were, the couple who traded their infant for a car -- and the tearjerker-paced "Doug," the tale of a moldering corpse looked after by his widow, feeling like they could be soundtracking some great lost John Waters musical.

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