Mr. Right & Mr. Wrong - One Down and Two to Go !
Mr. Right & Mr. Wrong - One Down and Two to Go
(Wrong records, 1994)
Intro / Red on Red / Who Fucked Who / Pigs and Dogs / Widget / More ICBMs / Blinding Light / I’m Doing Well / This Wound Will Never Heal / Real Love / Remember / Baldwang Must Die / Victoria / Sitting on Top of the World / Canada Is Pissed / Burn
One down and two to go, A mishmash of tracks recorded after Andy Kerr left the band (in ’91), with some songs from their formative years (dating back to ’79 and ’80) thrown in for good measure, One Down and Two to Go is as incoherent as possible but despite this, it also contains some excellent stuff, that is easily good enough to appear on ‘proper’ studio albums. The compilation also shows the brothers have come a long way since their early days, of which the music doesn’t have much in common with their ‘90’s output any more. Of the five ‘old’ songs included, “More ICBMs,” a quirky, piano-led track, is the most enjoyable, while the cheap-sounding “Canada Is Pissed” shows how dominant the Ramones were at the time. “Burn” and “Pigs and Dogs,” on the other hand don’t impress, despite the massively distorted guitars, while “Baldwang Must Die” shouldn’t have seen the light of day in the first place. Fortunately the newer stuff is more interesting, and offers a mix of charged punk rock, more complex prog punk and some special stuff, like Rob playing an acoustic blues during “I’m Doing Well” or only accompanying himself with super-heavy electric bass during the plodding but somehow also captivating “Sitting on Top of the World.”
“Red on Red” is one of their best straightforward punk songs, and it has a great sound, while both” Blinding Light” and “Remember” have rather silly-sounding choruses, but get such a tight execution that they obliterate everything in sight. “Who Fucked Who?” and “Widget” are lengthier, more complex and suffer from schizophrenia, and while that’s an advantage in the former case, the latter is more impressive than lovable. The slow “This Wound Will Never Heal” proves that Nomeansno’s excellence is not only limited to either ultra-complex prog punk or point blank-hardcore. Simple and repetitive, filled up with just enough notes, it’s one of the most directly emotional songs the band has ever come up with. The compilation for some reason also includes a version of “Real Love” as covered by a band called Swell Prod. (I presume they’re related to Nomeansno), and while their speedy version is actually quite good, it’s not nearly as intense or impressive as the original version. Finally, there’s also a version of The Kinks’ “Victoria,” as done by The Hanson Brothers, the difference being that the song isn’t about Queen Victoria, but the guys’ hometown in Canada, with hilariously altered lyrics (“I was born in a place, where the cops spray their mace, on the kids at the gigs, and they act just like pigs, beat ‘m up, knock ‘em down, Victoria, what a town”). With few superfluous songs, but also few really outstanding tracks, One Down and Two to Go is way too fragmented to appeal to those who are remotely interested (I presume), but is of course a nice treat for those who just can’t get enough of Canada’s finest (and yes, I have heard The New Pornographers, Sloan, The Tragically Hip and Paul Anka too!). (?)