This is a review of "All Artists are Criminals" recorded by Cha Cha Cohen. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.
This is an angry piece of work. Jaqi and Keith Gregory have gone to Australia and do not intend to promote the product. All Artists are Criminals. Suffer you scum, you watch Top of the Pops and you deserve to die.
The sound is a muscular, driving, jazz inflected, some kind of club dance mess. Deep wide bass parts throb relentlessly and the drum noises are mechanical to the point of pain.
Jaqi Gregory's voice is the sales pitch. Strong, throaty and sneering, it's a dangerous intelligent woman putting the world in its place. She's Velvet Underground's Nico with the added power of a post-feminist generation.
The songs are variations on the same basic approach. Hit the tempo button and keep it tight, stab in sharp-edged bits of brass guitar or keyboard and batter the floor toms at regular intervals. "Taxi" is a stand out radio kind of tune, with surprising echoes of the late lamented Bow Wow Wow from Malcolm McLaren's supernova days.
My own favourite is "Heavyweight" which does in depth what the rest of the album threatens. It's dark and sinful in all the ways you can imagine, and some that you can't. Best not try to guess what's it's really all about. The Marquis de Sade is in there somewhere. And what does "Dip for the cherry" mean?
I would be much more enthusiastic about this a single than I am about the whole album. Cha Cha Cohen are so cool they refuse to engage, they're all shade and very little light. The whole thing was concocted at House of Mook, and (despite my unfriendly reaction to being sneered at so stylishly) should be a key part of any Leeds claim to be back in the musical premiership, however tenuous the current connection.
Do look out for it. Mind it doesn't hit you from behind.