Let’s Wrestle – Nursing Home (Full Time Hobby)
June 22, 2011 by Joseph Stevens
Let’s Wrestle’s sophomore album, Nursing Home, found the band decamping to Illinois at the behest of American indie royalty, Steve Albini. Remaining true to the overt English quality of their music, Nursing Home picks up on the humdrum reality of day-to-day suburban existence, contextualised by souped-up slacker rock.
The album opener, In Dreams Pt II, comes across as a surreal rebuttal to the Roy Orbison classic. Singer, Wesley Patrick Gonzalez, takes us on a tour of his sleep visions: porn stars, Pokemon, fighting Greeks and a bedded Queen Victoria abound in a hodge-podge cast of generational archetypes. The crux of the song comes when Gonzalez sings “In my dreams they don’t understand me/ but when I tell you, you get it right away,” revealing an excited expression of camaraderie behind the Dadaist ensemble of characters.
Unfortunately, In Dreams Pt II marks the creative peak of the album. Henceforth, the listener is treated to recycled slacker clichés, such as unpunctuality, laziness, littering and afternoons in front of the computer. Maybe it’s just me, but this isn’t the sort o f thing that I want to hear about. The tactful humour deployed on In The Court of Wrestle Let’s is bogged down on Nursing Home with bland sentiments, such as those heard on In The Suburbs: “in the suburbs I have dinner with my mother/ then play computer games all night/ and all I ever worry about is feeling out of sight/ cus I feel so safe here.” Despite fuzzed-out, rapid fire guitars the track fails to amount to anything more than a tired commentary on a boring predicament, a rose-tinted retrospective on aimless teenage liberty.
Bad Mammaries continues Let’s Wrestles grass roots approach to song-writing with a little more success. The wayward humour that catapulted Let’s Wrestle to the forefront with their first album rears its spiteful head as Gonzales juxtaposes a sweet vocal melody with the words “Aren’t you a bit wrinkled to be a nymphomaniac?”
I’m So Lazy demonstrably benefits from the production of Steve Albini: the sound is more in the way of The Pixies, another band Albini has worked with. A cymbal heavy drum beat reinforces a scattered guitar and heady fuzz-laden bass; musically it’s the most fully realised track on the album, culminating in a energised bass-led breakdown. Before long, though, we’re reminded of the forgettable fare that typifies Nursing Home with I Forgot and I Am Useful.
Nursing Home isn’t a particularly bad album: there are moments of incisive humour and high-quality musicality, but these moments are all too sparse. The anarchic frivolity of Let’s Wrestles first album is made conspicuous by its absence on Nursing Home, while an almost generic slacker-rock tick-list is fulfilled. The stand-out tracks, In Dreams Pt II and I’m So Lazy, are worth your attention, however, and act as proof of what Let’s Wrestle are capable of.