Alright, I've debated writing a review of this record for some time now, and was told by The Chain Gang of 1974 himself to wait until the official release, but now that I know that 1. the official release has been pushed out til June, and 2. it will no longer be known as White Guts, I feel safe in reviewing this.
While the one man force that is The Chain Gang of 1974 has been making music since 2007, (when he started with just bass and ipod) He has only been known for some rather raw tracks that were posted on his myspace page, back when myspace was relevant. I happened upon him as an opener the second time I saw Innerpartysystem, and the energy he brought to his live show had me hooked.
After teasing and remixing his early work over and over again, Kam finally decided to make a full length album, and as no record label would give him the time of day (despite the resurrection of 80s music to the mainstream), he released it by himself on Amazon and iTunes. A few months later, he got signed to a record contract. But enough about Kam and not about the album.
White Guts starts off with Stop, which is obviously an homage to Stop Making Sense. Starts just with a drum machine a la Psycho Killer and ends up huge. There's a nice bit of funky guitar riff on Devil is a Lady and the keys come in equally gritty, which is all balanced out by Kam's falsetto singing.
The two of the next three tracks on the album are more of Kam's earlier sound, with F'N Head sampling some sesame street goodness. I called it one of the best electronic songs I heard in 2009. DANCEKISSLOVEMOVE has come a long way from the demo version on Fantastic Nostalgic, and even the Mad Mixtape version, and is always a crowd pleaser live.
Hold On mixes up the electronic dance of Kam's earlier work with his new sound, which is much more new wave pop than straight dance but ends with some great housey goodness. Visually Appealing, Matter of Time, and Don't Walk Away are great tracks that had they been released mid 1986 would be chart toppers. Make My Body is just a fun hard hitting song.
Only half of the songs from the album are going to make the cut onto the official first release, and I can only imagine how awesome they will be with proper mixing and production. Also, Kam is making some festival rounds this year, so if you go to SXSW make sure you catch The Chain Gang of 1974. Best live show by a one man band I've ever seen.