ASTEROID B-612: Reading Between the Lines: CD

I remember buying one of this band’s 45’s like ten years ago (or so it seems); i assume it either was on a label that was releasing interesting stuff at that time, or it had cool cover art, or both, because i have no idea why else i’d wind up with it. I also remember putting it on, and being immediately and violently disappointed: ick, this isn’t the kind of band i like! For whatever reason, i then quite remember liking the b-side (though not, at this late date, the b-side itself). Same deal here: I popped in the disc, and the ghastly/pointless/godawful recitation of Alan Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down” was enough to freeze the lymph in my nodes and set me to maniacally whacking the fast forward button, in the hopes that the entire B-612 2005 experience could be handled in the form of a swift and perfunctory overview of the first few seconds of each song. Unfortunately, after a second straight dog, track number three (“September Crush”) was rockin’ enough that i was bound by both conscience and duty to allow the record to play itself out (no small chore considering its seventy-five minute running length); somewhere around “Let It Slide,” i realized that the epic adenoidal balladry plus guitars aspect of things was giving me a clear and present Chris Bailey/Saints vibe, and thereupon did i find myself becoming unwittingly and unwillingly immersed in the band’s occasionally snappy and well-groomed bombast. They then decided to bludgeon me in Antipodal/Aboriginal fashion with album-ending covers of the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Second Cousin,” the Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown” (slightly slower and heavier than the original, which i would usually frown upon—however, whatever retardation of tempo they attempted/achieved appears to be at the exact rate of behind-the-beatness that Charlie Watts always pulled off [for reasons unclear], so that, as the kids used to say before my boss started saying it, is all good), and, finally, a fusing of the Died Pretty’s “Mirror Blues” (which, to me, recalls another epic album-closer, “Beginning of the End” from Eddie & the Hot Rods Life on the Line LP, but what do i know) with Pere Ubu’s only good song, “Final Solution,” all of which made me feel not unlike what i imagine i would feel like if i should some day find myself under the harmful compulsion to try and dunk over (Milwaukee Bucks rookie Australian power forward) Andrew Bogut in the closing seconds of overtime. Surely the best rock album whose first two songs were so bad i fast-forwarded over them of all time! BEST SONG: “September Crush” BEST LINE FROM BEST SONG: “You got me dancing/and I don’t dance” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Just Don’t Know Bout Gurls” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Asteroid B-612 was the home of the Little Prince in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book. De Saint-Exupery used to be depicted on some French currency, along with a drawing from The Little Prince (of the boa constrictor who swallowed the hat) so when i was in France i took one of said bills home and gave it to my mom because she likes that book, even though it was kind of a big bill.

 –norb (No Tomorrow)