Published Mar 22, 2010Following in the footsteps of countrymen Hefner and the Cribs, London's Let's Wrestle (named after the David Shrigley book, not the Joan of Arc song) demonstrate remarkable wit, but make it sound as if it was scribbled on a beer-soaked pint coaster. Like those two bands, they also have a strong American lo-fi influence in their sound, jacking up the distortion while playing their songs with scrappy abandon. That description sounds like any number of acts from the last two decades, but Let's Wrestle have actually found their own distinct sound. Cheekily biting their album title from the famous prog masterpiece by King Crimson, the trio don't exhibit the expertise of most five-year-old bands, relying on aping their influences to give life to the songs. What's funny is how little these influences matter. Keeping them varied and spread out, they exhibit overdriven guitar spasms ("My Arms Don't Bend That Way, Damn It!"), organ-bled, apathetic ballads ("My Schedule"), spiky pop punk ("I Won't Lie to You") and Hawaiian love songs ("In Dreams"), with such blithe adolescence that you soon forget which song sounded like Dinosaur Jr. This randomness is whirling enough to allow their jocular anecdotes about Princess Di hairdos and record-collecting habits to sink in and charm the pants off you.
Judging by the album title, I take it you're King Crimson fans?
Bassist/keyboardist Mike Lightning: Wes [Patrick Gonzalez, vocals/guitars] came up with the idea to name our albums after famous album titles, in particular, '60s and '70s albums. Like, I think our next record we're going to call Trout Mask Wrestlica, after Captain Beefheart. What else were we going to [do]? Wrestle Schmestle, as in Nilsson Schmilsson. Let's Sounds, as in Pet Sounds. We came up with loads of them, but thought In the Court of the Wrestling Let's was the best one.
The press release says the album was intended as a punk record. What happened?
I think we all like to think that we're punks... not punks, but punky. But at the same [time], we're a little bit too self-indulgent to do that kind of shit. Wes likes his proper lead solos, I love to play the piano and the keyboards, and even though we can't quite get it across, we're just too self-indulgent to do the punk thing properly.
What was it about Princess Diana's hair that inspired a song about it?
It's actually got nothing to do with her hair; it's about my hair. Wes and I were just joking around and thought my hair on that day looked particularly like Princess Diana's. He went away and wrote a song about how he was miserable about losing Diana, but it was okay because his friend has the same hair. (Merge)