New Wet Kojak: This Is the Glamorous (Beggars Banquet)

This Is the Glamorous was intended to be a concept album (if anyone really does those anymore), an entire disc about the reality and superficiality of glamour.

There’s something sensual in the way Scott McCloud bites off his words, almost the way Greg Dulle lit up the room with his Afghan Whigs. McCloud gives the impression of being an almost-over-the-hill singer in a small and dingy nightclub. He’s speak-singing words that seem as if they should be enlightening and eye-opening. Will you come along for the ride?

Kojak was formed in the mid-’90s by Girls Against Boys members McCloud and Johnny Temple; they added Geoff Turner on guitar, Nick Pelleciotto on drums, and Charles Bennington on sax to create a sound that is altogether different from the driving beat of GVSB. Rather, New Wet Kojak embraces dank jazz influences, the aforementioned lounge-y feel.

This Is the Glamorous was intended to be a concept album (if anyone really does those anymore), an entire disc about the reality and superficiality of glamour. With songs like “Supermodel Citizen USA” and “The World of Shampoo,” McCloud and friends give us 11 tracks about the well-coiffed and made-up. “I’ll tell you now, I’ll tell ya this/my baby is for real, in a world of shampoo,” McCloud growls on the opening track, and we don’t believe him, not at all.

“There’s nothing you can say that will ever affect me/Nothing at all,” grumbles McCloud on the sleeper “Bad Things,” followed by Bennington’s achingly cool saxaphone. “Death 2 the Pop World” is a stunningly smooth jazzed-out number; “We can’t accept no dis-satisfaction,” says McCloud over the funky beat. There’s more of a sleek dance buzz to “Let’s Get Glorified,” while “This Is the Glam” has, deservedly, a bit of that ’70s glam-rock feel to it.
This Is the Glamorous is a relaxing, deceiving listen: it tempts you to shut off your brain, to believe in the beauty—and therein lies the contradiction. New Wet Kojak will push you to do anything but.

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