Let's Wrestle - In the Court of the Wrestling Let's
released 1 November 2010 on Full Time Hobby
From The Butthole Surfers’ Hairway to Steven to Nick Lowe’s Bowi, album title puns have been with us a fair old while. The joke can, however, be horribly misjudged if the record itself is not up to scratch. This is a trap instantly fallen into by Let’s Wrestle on their expanded re-release of 2009’s In The Court of the Wrestling Let’s (for those of you not paying attention, it’s a King Crimson reference. Ask your Dad). Let’s Wrestle are brash, smug, not as funny as they think they are, and alienating to listen to. A lot of the time, In The Court... - from its crudely drawn cover downwards - feels like an in-joke specifically designed to exclude.
The problem is that everything Let’s Wrestle attempt to do has been done before (better) by Art Brut. In The Court... has its moments - those where it’s fit to be held up against Eddie Argos and the boys - but it more often resembles forgotten London urchins The Others. Occasionally it even borders on the distasteful: Songs for Old People may sound like a punk update of Grandaddy’s A.M. 180 on first listen, but contains condescending jibes towards the elderly, while Diana’s Hair is a bizarre - but crucially, in no way amusing - paean to the late Princess which mentions stalking Prince Charles. It’s difficult to see the point Diana’s Hair is trying to make. It’s like a comedy song outline where nobody’s actually bothered to fill in the content.
Despite this, the album does have some above-average tracks. Previous single Song for ABBA Tribute Record is enjoyable and I Won’t Lie to You has great chorus, as well as being one of the few songs that isn’t irritatingly arch. The everyday mundanity of My Schedule is turned into something triumphant, and We Are The Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon is a giddy,
sugar-fueled romp. Replete with singalong “bah-bah-bahs” and wry lyrics (“We’re going down the job centre and soon, we’ll come out with a job”), it’s a 21st Century reworking of Supergrass’ Alright that magnifies the failings of the rest of the album.
The extra disc adds little to this unappealing let-down of an album. In The Court... is basic, repetitive, and has very little to recommend it. NME have described Let’s Wrestle as “charming, funny and utterly real”. I’d like to contest that: they’re charmless, tedious and utterly crap.