The Wolfgang Press

"Funky Little Demons" on 4AD/Sire Records

Michael Allen and The Wolfgang Press (also Mark Cox and Andrew Gray) have smoothed out much of their angst and made their newest package, "Funky Little Demons," accessible at last to a wider range of listeners. The songs "Going South" and "She's so Soft" have travelled even top-40 stations. Some early TWP fans are tending to discard "FLD" in disappointment because it lacks the perverse anglo-agitation that they carried even into the rather groovy 1992 album Queer. Certainly a Motown 70's affection rides through this most recent disc, but such elements of soul have been with TWP since early on, as in their cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" in 1985, or their characteristic percussion-heavy tribal chants.

But of course, King of Soul, Mick, and the boys interpret funk in their own fashion. Listening to "FLD" is like being at a fashionable soiree, where dope of only utmost quality is exchanged. There is almost a consistent pop synth beat running throughout the background of many of the songs, especially in the cynically danceable "Christianity," the soothing "Derek the Confessor" or the club-friendly "Executioner." Rather than crash in upon the hearer in typical TWP style, this one oozes with groovy instrumentation. Mick drones more melodically, more subdued (except in the throbbing "So Long Dead," which is most like earlier tunes). He sings with a gentle, yet sardonic authority, portraying himself as "a wicked man" and affirming, "Charlie Manson said that everything is right/And Charlie Manson knows."

The lyrical content of "FLD" is less subterranean in comparison with other albums, but Mick Allen continues to show himself a gifted songwriter. For those who can shimmy along to its cool causticness, "Funky Little Demons" is bound to gratify.

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