Just when you thought everyone had stopped laughing at all those over-pumped, ’80s-damaged indie party groups (Junior Senior, Har Mar Superstar) Gravy Train!!!! releases its third full-length, its members inexplicably sporting gold hot pants and rocking idiotic tin-can electroclash like they’ve just sprung from the pages of a three-year-old copy of Vice magazine. All the Sweet Stuff finds the wretched two-boy, two-girl dance dunces whipping out their array of "part-ay" stock images from the nether regions of smirking hipster irony.
Spelling out your boy’s name ("D.A.N.N.Y.") in a snoozy sing-chant (a la Toni Basil’s "Mickey")? A rockin’ Lenny Kravitz reference in "Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Doin’ Tonight?" Really? Could this get any lamer? It boggles the senses, but the Gravy Train!!!! keeps on a-rollin’; song after song, the kids gleefully barrel through ignominy until All the Sweet Stuff mercifully (but never, never soon enough) screeches to a halt after thirty minutes, leaving a flaming wreckage of aqua net and neon unitards in its wake.
Rather than the inferno of booty shakin’ that the Train is so desperately trying to ignite, All the Sweet Stuff just makes me ponder which of the band’s insufferable habits is the least grating. Is it the way the Train treats the most pedestrian observances about keggers, clubbing and contrived sexual escapades like it just reinvented the disco ball? The way the microphones are left on at the end of half the songs so you can hear the band smugly cracking themselves up like a bunch of brain-damaged mynah birds? Maybe it’s their vilely cute nicknames (Chunx, Funx, Hunx, Junx) or that the music sounds like it was slapped together for an unfunny SNL aerobicize parody.
Gravy Train!!!! takes that fine line twixt Prince’s raunchy innuendo and eighth-grade penis humor and blithely demolishes it in a chintzy, oversize pink Ford Explorer limo of imbecilic party jams. Despite its best intentions, it offends purely on the level of musical taste; even the daintiest of schoolmarms would likely find the record more silly than suggestive. I suspect the group’s fans will denounce me as a humbug who’s just not in on the joke, but any sober listener will see that the joke is on anyone who has to listen to this.