SINGLE OF THE WEEK - MELODY MAKER - 18TH NOVEMBER 1995
PENTHOUSE - RIPT 'N' HAPPY / BABY PEELER (KITTY KITTY CORP)
I know what you're thinking; "What a surprise. A member of Ligament makes a record with another group and there's Luffy to love it." Well, listen. I'd forgotten Tim Cedar could even play a guitar, so accustomed I'd become to him as Penthouse's drummer. I thought twice about this, but...
BLOODY HELL! WHAT AN ENORMOUS SWAGGERING SWAMP-UGLY BLOODY BEAUTIFUL RECORD!
You're not going to believe this, but this is how Penthouse sound when they rein themselves in. Fighting to drown each other out a la Velvet Underground circa 'Sister Ray' makes for brilliant gigs, but Penthouse realise that a successful single is an exercise in the art of compression. Both sides of this condensed milking of live favourites are distilled pure 100 per cent proof Penthouse. 'Baby Peeler' works particularly well. Usually it carries on until Tim breaks a drumstick, but here it's all over before you can catch your breath. "ROPE!" Charlie screeches at the start of 'Ript n Happy', "give me some!" He may want to hang himself, but he's not suicidal.
It's a dirty kind of blues playing in the Penthouse.
Know what I mean?
SINGLE OF THE WEEK - MELODY MAKER - 3RD APRIL 1996
PENTHOUSE - GAS PORTER BLUES / STUNGTRUNKS (KITTY KITTY CORPORATION)
The Jets are in town...
Only two musicals have ever captured my heart; "Guys And Dolls" and "West Side Story". And if Penthouse's spiritual companions, the likes of Gallon Drunk and Jon Spencer, fall into the Nathan Detroit category, scuzzy gambling guys praying luck's gonna be a lady, the Penthouse fall face down across the divide, on the flick-knife side of Jets and Sharks, rumbles at midnight and fighting dirty. From the word "Goooo!", 'Gas Porter Blues' is packed with nasty, compulsive thrills, singer Charlie Finke's breathless yowl running mad over a drag-racing riff, greasy drums, and 10 brown bottles of the coolest cool.
Chuck in a slab of Motorhead, a sliver of Birthday Party, and an engine-oil B-side with a weirdo name and you've got IT.
Yeah, if Leonard Bernstein had really known the score, leaping over chain fences and eyeing up the competition/talent would have sounded exactly like this.
Boys, boys, crazy boys. Don't you just love 'em?
PLENTY SIDE - SPRING 1997
PENTHOUSE - VOYEURS' BLUES
Fuck, how do they keep doing it? Record after record of loud, sleazy, dirty great blues topped up with dodgy, seamy lyrics. The best thing they've put out yet, but the album's still to come and I think, judging by the songs they played the last time they were up here, even this is going to be surpassed. Awesome as always.
MELODY MAKER - 19TH APRIL 1997
PENTHOUSE - VOYEURS' BLUES
Phil - Full marks for the titles. Like 'Plate Of Slags', 'Tongue Kung-Fu'.
MM - Indeedy, sounds like the entire contents of a squat crashing through a mouldy ceiling into the flat below, with some mean, filthy, bluesy harmonica thrown in.
Phil - Yeah, I like the mess of it. That grinding bass. The Swans-y noise. And the samples. If the are samples, that is. Who knows these days?
David Stubbs - Guest reviewed Phil Hartnoll (Orbital)
SINGLE OF THE WEEK - NME - 26TH APRIL 1997
PENTHOUSE - VOYEUR'S BLUES EP (World Domination)
They mean the special interest magazine, not the high-rise dwelling, by the way.
Penthouse, along with Groop Dogdrill, are among the fledgling ranks of a scene (membership: two) they're all calling 'The New Scum'; vile, poorly-educated men who smell - and occasionally sound - like old duvets, who arise infrequently from their fetid slumbers to record those humid perversions they call 'their dreams'.
All tracks here are ghastly. One is called 'Plate Of Slags'. The last is called 'Tongue Kung-Fu'. Sleeve features drawing of woman examining her genitals. They are Led Zepplin drinking vile red wine and eating cheap pies, in a makeshift bivouac on Camden Parkway scraping a meagre living selling matches which they spend on gin-soaked, hollow-eyed women called Marie who will break their sorry hearts. And they are brilliant, if doomed.
Except the bass player, that is. He frequently delivers packages to IPC Magazines and is, reports have it, 'a very nice bloke.'
Shame on him.