Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lexo and the Leapers: Ask Them (1999)

This is the first Robert Pollard side-project which I get to write about. Lexo and the Leapers consists of Robert Pollard being backed by the Tasties. It is a six-track EP filled with heavy rock straight from the 60's and 70's, which has a focus on the fun side of rock. When it comes to Pollard side-projects, there seems to be about three types. The first, is the phone-in lyrics type. These are albums where someone writes music, and separately, Pollard lays down some vocals over the tracks (see Circus Devils). The second is the "I can't believe you bought this" toss-off type stuff, such as Nightwalker. The third type is actual collaborations where the album actually sounds like a full band is performing together. That is the case with Lexo and the Leapers...

As the opening chords are played in Time Machines, you know that Ask Them is going to be a special treat. Pollard sings a great chorus which changes lyrically each time through in this all-out rocker which shares plenty in common with Exit Flagger. It appears that this Time Machines is in no way related to the song of the same title on Suitcase.

Alone, Stinking and Unafraid is a live GBV staple, and boy does this song get going at about a minute and a half into it. When Pollard yells out "Stinking and unafraid!", I feel proud to be a GBV fan. The effect on the vocals really adds to the track as well.

I really like the acoustic intro to Plainskin, however, this part is abandoned for another grungy-rock tune like the first two. Overall, Plainskin is not an overly exciting tune, though it does fit well with the rest of the EP. Will You Show Me Your Gold? is extremely similar to Plainskin, except it has a chorus, and a nice one at that.

Fair Touching, from Isolation Drills, is a beautiful song. The version on this EP has simply been Lexo and the Leaper-ized. It is virtually the same song, except with the grungy guitar sound, and the radio-transmission effect on Pollard's vocals. Circling Motorhead Mountain is a minute and forty-four seconds of rock straight-up.

I am a big fan of EP's, as they always seem to contain something a little special. Lexo and the Leapers is more than worthy of a side-project EP (in fact, I would have loved it if this particular collaboration released a full album of these sweet little rock gems). It is a fun 18 minutes or so, and should be added to any GBV collection.

Tracklisting (songs in bold make my ultimate Pollard/GBV playlist/boxset):
01 Time Machines
02 Alone, Stinking And Unafraid
03 Plainskin
04 Will You Show Me Your Gold?
05 Fair Touching (Original Version)
06 Circling Motorhead Mountain


Anonymous said...

Isolation Drills came out/was recorded AFTER Lexo And The Leapers. Our "Fair Touching" is the original. -Jay Madewell, drummer of Lexo And The Leapers.

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Rock Robot said...

I actually noticed it recently listed on gbvdb as "Fair Touching [original version]". Thanks for clearing that up Jay.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear a full album too. Every track but Plainskin is essential and Alone... is on my Bob Top 10.