Arab on Radar

    Queene Hygiene II / Rough Day at the Orifice


    I know everyone says this, but fo’ real people, rock stars today are fucking boring. Oh man, the elfish guy from Sum 41 broke the leg of a chair in his hotel room? No way! Scott Stapp or whatever his name is drinks beer and forgets the words to his family-friendly Christian rock??? Dude is just plain batty. That Dave Navarro guy has tattoos is married to some boring C-list celebrity cock hound? Scandalous.


    I don’t know the AOR guys at all, but I’ll bet they are fucking bonkers (let alone the fact that every record they ever made is better and more interesting than the Red Hot Boring White Funk Brigade or whatever other shitty mid-’90s alterna-bands Dave “Sick Tribal, Bro” Navarro was in). And like legitimate crazy too, like certifiable staple-my-eyeballs-for-fun type shit. I can’t even think of other crazy stuff because I’m not really paying attention, but I’m sure its super crazy. Oh man, maybe they eat cats! Remember when Alf ate cats? He ATE CATS?!?!?! What??? Who fucking thought that up? Is that the most bizarre plot wrinkle in television history? “Yeah yeah, I know he’s a furry alien living with a suburban white family, but c’mon: we need something else … something a little kookier … ”

    So in summary, AOR eats cats and makes great records, specifically Queen Hygiene II and Rough Day at the Orifice, the first two full-lengths in the AOR catalogue, which up ’til now were relatively hard to find and are now packaged together for you, offensive lyric sheets and all. For reference, Queen Hygiene II was originally released in the summer of ’97 by Heparin Records, and Rough Day at the Orifice followed in ’99. Together, these two LPs are pretty indicative of what was to come from the band: a piercing, calling-all-cars-style siren-rock with androgynous-sounding vocals and bizarre lyrical accompaniment.

    The band had already more or less left behind the more dance-able sound of their early singles and seven inches, moving away from commonly understood structures and genres. In that respect, there are slight differences between the two albums: Queen Hygiene still has some remnants of “traditional” (and I use that word loosely) songwriting (it also has a bass, an instrument that would never appear on AOR recordings again). Rough Day is slightly more grating: the guitar sound is more jarring, the absence of a bass leaves little to anchor the song, the vocals get even weirder, etc.

    Easy listening this is not, but it is a welcome posthumous release from a band with little regard for convention and a tangible distaste for the overly friendly, hook-laden state of rock ‘n’ roll. Alf and this band rule hard.