Tighten That Muscle Ring
, November 28th, 2012 11:15
Built out of samples of dialogue that could have come right out of gay porn, visceral grunts, pants and leathery oofs, lyrics of sexual domination and moistened anuses (or anii? what's the plural here?) grinding electronics… it's hardly surprising that the late, great Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson used to always make sure he packed Hirsute Pursuit in his DJ bag when on the road. No matter how many double "R"s R&B might like to add to dirty, Hirsute Pursuit's Tighten That Muscle Ring is hands down (stop sniggering at the back there) the most sexy and perverted album of 2012.
Hirsute Pursuit are Bryin Dall (who has worked with Genesis P'Orridge in Thee Majesty and released an album of interpretations of Hank Williams songs) and the more mysterious vocalist Harley Phoenix, along with collaborators Sleazy and Boyd Rice. Boyd's vocal appearance opens the album with a cover of David Bowie's 'Boys Keep Swinging'. We're told that the Thin White Duke personally approved the release, and Hirsute Pursuit have certainly made a great fist of the tribute: Boyd's vocal is a flat, deviant monotone over a simple, clattering beat. Needless to say, it lends itself to rejigging.
Sleazy makes a posthumous appearance via 'One Sleazy Night In Bangkok'. This track, with an unnerving down tone and a beat that reminds one of the Wu-Tang Clan before going all frottage, was sent to Christopherson, and came back as 'One Sleazy Night In New Orleans'. There's a mournful harmonica and guitar that's very Coil, with more abstract vocals made by "pitching up Harley’s voice so he sounds like a boy." Sleazy's track is, funnily enough, the most subtle here.
The sheer momentum of all the shagging throughout Tighten That Muscle Ring - "fuck time... get clean for daddy... legs up..." - becomes relentless. On 'Daddy Bear' an industrial stomp and bells are combined with so much fuck grunting it starts sounding entirely animalistic - there's almost a celebration of the fast anonymity of sex. Of course, this is a record that's never sated, and it rouses along to 'Fuck', probably the most tangibly mucky track here and the centrepiece of the album. The low-end is all Coil-esque deep bass rhythm overlaid with a gunshot top end. Literally every other noise you hear that isn't sadistic fizzing is the sound of men enjoying each other's company, as a voice intones "tighten that muscle ring / I don't care if it hurts / that's the way to do it."
Reams could be written about Hirsute Pursuit and sexual power dynamics. See also the self-explanatory 'Here To Pleasure Me', with its acidy tweaks and big boot bass and… "Your slippery fucking hole… my big fucking cock / please me boy / you're here to be of service". I must confess it conjured up mental images… one can but wish for a One Direction cover version, with Harley pulling the straps. The boy and a bear fantasy 'My Pleasure' works similarly well, with evil electronic funk bass and noise guitar and, like 'Boys Keep Swinging', has been excellently remixed.
That's the thing with this ludicrous, hilarious, intensely sexual and highly enjoyable album. It's appreciated by more than just me, too: Hirsute Pursuit claim to be loved by straight men and soccer moms alike. In an interview, Dall described his group's perhaps surprising fanbase growth: "Then it was middle American housewives, and we thought that was bizarre. They’d say, 'I can’t tell my husband, but this is so hot!' Maybe this is this cute little secret, women loving gay guys having sex the way straight guys love lesbians." It's quite hard to tell how much of this is tongue in, erm, cheek. Which is perhaps the point - mainstream pop's biggest flaw is often how it sanitises sex, removes the humour, the squelches, the messy aftermath… the santorum. Hirsute Pursuit give up the goods, and then some, in unbridled, glorious filth. "This is music you can fuck to, as well as bump and grind," we're told. For once, an album's marketing does not lie. HP deliver sauce of the fruitiest, finest flavour… take it deep, boys.