Big Sexy Land – Revolting Cocks

Release Year: 1986

Rating: 7.5/10

With one of the most offensive names in rock music, Revolting Cocks formed in 1983 by Al Jourgensen, Richard 23, and Luc Van Acker after a bar fight in Chicago. Since then the band has continued to make music throughout the years. Their debut album showcases the sound and feel Jourgensen’s band, Ministry, would move to shortly after the release of this LP. Considering the main players in the band and the music they make, it’s hard not to make the comparison to Ministry. If anything the album can be viewed as a stepping stone to the Ministry that’s known today.

Named after the Heysel Stadium disaster of 1985, “38” begins with rapid fire percussion followed by a deep, funky bass that gets the groove going. Though apparently Jourgensen did none of the vocals for the LP, somehow Richard 23 still manages to sound like the frontman only with a slight British accent. The whole thing has a cool industrial groove to it that makes you dance. Unlike some of the later material, it’s not intense or super heavy, a theme that runs throughout the music. “We Shall Cleanse the World” has an upbeat feel and reminds you 80’s club bangers. Here, samples Jourgensen would use in his other work makes an appearance. The vocal delivery is commanding, which works well with the lyrics: “Cross the city very fast/No time to lose, no time to lose/Cross the city very fast/You’re the only driver who can do it.” The entire thing has this Big Brother mood to it that’s a bit unsettling.

Attack Ships on Fire” has similar if not the same music as the opening track: the same mix of synth, heavy percussion, and that sexy bass groove. What really makes the song is the whole creepy vibe to it. The vocals are a whisper, which are then twisted and distorted you can barely make them out. Then, he screams “Someone somewhere wake me up!” sounding tortured and distressed. The music also features a lot of weird noises, like random laughing and moaning, reminding you of disturbing Ministry songs, which of course some of their best.

The LP features a few instrumental tracks, but they command your attention as much as the other songs. On “Big Sexy Land” the light synth and various samples used really reminds me of songs from Pretty Hate Machine. The band gets really creative on “Union Carbide,” both mixes, by remixing the samples to create its own rhythm and hook. The way the music twists, turns, and changes sometimes right in the middle of it, keeps your interest and keeps you moving, which seemed to be the band’s goal at the time.

When the LP was remastered in 2004, it featured the previously unreleased track “You Often Forget” and it’s not as strong or memorable as the original songs. The music is jarring and sounds like a record skipping. The vocals themselves are layered on top of each other making the whole thing disorienting and hard to listen to. Clocking in at 8:30, the song grows dull after a while and can’t hold your attention like the other tracks. When you hear it, you understand why it was left off of the original release. After this, the rest of the LP doesn’t hold up. “TV Mind” and “No Devotion” aren’t bad tracks, but with similar synth music and deep grooves, everything sounds familiar and is easy to tune out.

Whether it was intentional or not, Jourgensen laid out the foundation for later Ministry albums. While the music for this project is more groove oriented instead of brutal, the two bands sound pretty similar, but what else would you expect with most of the members in this band? The first half of the LP is strong with ear catching sounds, but it all starts to run together by the second half. None of the songs are out right, but they become forgettable. With Ministry supposedly at an end, maybe Jourgesen will round up these guys for another album. Once could only hope.

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