Andrew W.K.

  • Andrew W.K.
  • I Get Wet (Island) 2002 
  • The Wolf (Island) 2003 

With his hoarse idiot shout, galloping stomp, sizzling guitar roar, rudimentary synthesizers and mindless hedonism, Andrew W.K. is more or less the idiot spawn of Motörhead, Slade, Cheap Trick, Sweet and Billy Idol. And that’s a wonderful thing, baby. Beyond the refried aroma of gimmickry and the inescapable fact that the album hinges on one recycled idea and variations on a basic riff, this is the closest thing to a glam rock classic as has come down the pike since the glory days of mirrored hats and feather boas. I Get Wet is a monster of breathless chantalong fun — the Strokes having been stroked, as it were — that succeeds both intentionally and in spite of itself. Clearly the result of long and careful marketplace study, the song subjects are as obvious as the fake blood streaming from the singer’s nose on the front cover: “It’s Time to Party,” “Fun Night,” “Party Hard,” “Party ‘Til You Puke” et al. But a power-wall of hyped guitar and drums spiked with odd little hooks of the sort British auteurs like Chinnichap and Trevor Horn wielded so deftly renders the contents irrelevant to the music’s appeal. Shameless, obnoxious and embarrassing? Sure it is, but that’s partly why I Get Wet is so nostalgically redolent of glitter’s hollow genius. Given the endeavor’s overall calculation, sound and evident effort (seven studios and a like number of producers, not to mention five programmers and two “effects processing” people) to sound simple and dumb, it’s worth noting a tiny “technical assistance” credit to Matts Sweeney and Quigley, both former members of the New York area band Skunk (Sweeney was also in Chavez) who spent several years failing to loft a high-concept and nearly legendary dress-up Move-like glam outfit called Vaganza into the charts. Even wet revenge is better than nothing.

[Ira Robbins]