Two Nuns and a Pack Muleby Rapeman
The sole full-length record from Steve Albini's razor-honed thrash trio (rounded out by Scratch Acid's David Wm. Sims and Rey Washam) varies in its attack in ways Albini's old trio Big Black never did; the demented rhythms constantly threaten to veer out of control, and Albini's guitar screeches like something rabid and bloodthirsty. Lyrically, the group displays the same warmth and compassion so evident in their choice of a name (taken, by the way, from a Japanese comic book character); songs tackle sex ("Trouser Minnow"), ethnicity ("Hated Chinee"), and classic rock ("Radar Love Lizard"); there's even a Sonic Youth 'homage' called "Kim Gordon's Panties."
- Release Date:
- Touch & Go Records
Performance CreditsRapeman Primary Artist
Technical CreditsSteve Albini Producer
Kerry Crafton Engineer
Rey Washam Engineer
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For many Steve Albini fans, Rapeman serves as the transitional bridge between the music of Big Black and Shellac. They were essentially an indie rock supergroup consisting of Albini and two members of Scratch Acid. Though they only had one album, "Two Nuns and a Pack Mule," which is included here with their only EP, "Budd," both are necessary for Albini fanatics or Big Black fans hungry for more. Imagine the intensity of Big Black with some more unpredictable starts and stops, as well as a more natural drum sound, and you essentially have Rapeman. However, it is in my opinion, Albini's most underrated album; he was right when he said they never lasted to fulfill their potential. Rapeman also just might be Albini at his funniest (if you can pick up on his wicked sense of humor). "Steak and Black Onions" is an attack on vegetarians of all things, "Kim Gordon's Panties" takes a good-natured jab at Sonic Youth, there is a song from the point of view of a lizard, there are gas-passing noises, and "Log Bass" is hilarious in it's absurdity. If you need to blow off some steam, there's always the terrorizing moment that is "Trouser Minnow" (about a rape victim) or "Budd," which is based on a televised suicide. It's probably the hardest Albini album to track down, but it's certainly worth the effort.
This doesn't come anywhere near the best work of Big Black, Shellac, The Jesus Lizard or whatever one's point of reference may be. It's a pretty damn enjoyable listen though, even though many people will certainly be put off by the extremety, the complete lack of compromise in the album's full on noise attack. Rey Washam is of course an amazing drummer, and only wanting to hear his mindblowing skills in action is a good enough reason to check out this album.