The Molls -- The Molls
Skids Records, 1979
Although the Molls are perhaps best known as the band for whom Peter Prescott drummed immediately prior to joining Mission of Burma, the band's sole release, 1979's "White Stains" b/w "Is Chesty Dead?" suggests that, had they stuck it out, they would be much more than a footnote in post-punk history books. Alas, it was not to be. Fortunately, though, we have this relic to savor.
The disk's A-side, "White Stains," is easily the record's stand-out track, though the B-side is anything but a throwaway. Still, I'm a real sucker for a solid deployment of that classic rock 'n' roll formula of staggering the introduction of the rhythm section, a tactic the Molls pull off brilliantly on "White Stains." This strategy often benefits bands hoping to instill an impression of gradually-accumulating energy in the listener, though the Molls don't exactly lack puissance. In fact, by the time the drums kick in around the 0:08 second mark, the opening riff has already created a sense of the barely-constrained frenzy upon which the song derives much of its force. Six seconds later, with the force of a carefully-orchestrated demolition detonation, the bass blows the track open and what sounds like an amphetamine-charged Jerry Lee Lewis rushes in to add a pulsing keyboard riff to the already throbbing mix. The vaguely anxious vocals only amplify the track's increasing sense of agitated desperation, which continues to build for the better part of two minutes before ultimately sinking into a wash of feedback as the song swallows itself whole.
The B-side is a creepy art-punk homage to the still-living Chesty Morgan, an exotic dancer and pornographic actress renown for her exceptionally large breasts. By turns catchy and cacophonous, the jangling, screechy "Is Chesty Dead?" features playfully deranged vocals that will delight as many listeners as it will annoy.
Sobriquet Grade: 86 (B).
Note: Special thanks to the Molls' Tom Doran for contacting us with a correction to the original review!