Song Of The Day 11/10/2014: Trixter - "Pump It Up"



Quarterly Covers Report: Musicians who try to cover Elvis Costello songs are just adorable. It hasn't always been easy to decipher what many of his songs are about, for one thing. Especially his earlier, cusp-of-stardom works that were swaddled in British pop imagery, booze-and-wires-fueled sexual politics and acrostic-suited wordplay. At least for us Americans, the nervy power of the Attractions and the bile-and-spittle attack of Elvis' vocals were all we needed to fall in love. We could always try to figure out the lyrics later in more reflective moments with warm tea and associates that claim to be interested in what we're saying.

That's why I love Trixter's version of "Pump It Up," which I think we can safely say is about market-driven masturbation. First of all, in the morass that is early 90's hungover hair metal, Trixter is one of the bands I genuinely and gladly reserve time for. (E'nuff Z'nuff was another.) They're Jersey kids, who are among the very few sub-cats of musicians who've earned the right to a free pass for playing hair metal. This came from a short LP called Undercovers, which is sadly out of print but also contains versions of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" (not as good as this) and Supertramp's "Take the Long Way Home" (haven't heard yet). So they were willing to go outside the safety zone for good material.

Trixter also seems to actually dig this song, despite its mannered Subterranean-Homesick-Blues-isms like "I've been on tenterhooks" and "Fall into submission, hit and run transmission." But most of all, they give flat-out balls to the famous descending chord riff that reappears throughout. It's the most aggressive, rudimentary guitar figure Costello ever came up with. And I admit to you, as the man who gave his first-born son the middle name "Declan" because of Elvis' position in his singular music pantheon, I love how Trixter play that riff.

All right, all right. Perhaps that's a bit more enthusiastic than I intend it to sound, but this makes at least as much sense to me as Anthrax playing Joe Jackson.
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