David Holmes
Let’s Get Killed
1997 Go! Discs Ltd.

This album is one hell of a lot of fun. I hesitate to compare anything to Fatboy Slim, but, well, this is a little like Fatboy Slim. Not the same thing, but if you dig one of them, there’s likely room in your heart for the other.

David Holmes walked around New York City recording everything – angry traffic, street poetry, crazy angry people, footsteps, and mixed it up in a wacky way. What results is a composite collage of the city, its noises, its people, and leaves me feeling that I’ve almost been there, if just for an hour.

High points:

  • Track 9 takes you down into the subway, under the workings of the city. Motors, clanking, wires sizzling. There are no people, only a train that roars and crashes. This is what lies underneath the whole structure – of the city, and of the album.

  • a clip of Bill Clinton speaking, used entirely without irony, and it works.

  • a kick-ASS remix of the classic James Bond theme, including priceless New York street wisdom. “James Bond is the man, to me, because, I don’t care what nobody says, if you can get a gun, shoot 30 people, walk out, blow it up, not get a piece of dirt on you, walk down the block, pick up a chick and take her to a motel, you is the shit!”

  • Words from a man who’s loaded up on everything from meth to speed to barbiturates, and has no idea what day it is. Scratchy, lost voice. He is used to being alone in himself.

  • street poetry from a guy who means it.

  • a guy reading astrological charts who raves about what an incredible guy David Holmes is, based on his stars & planets. “You’re a writer... poet... GENIUS!” Surely he’s doing it for the money – surely it’s a scam – but something about his delivery makes it sound like he means what he says, and that he believes he has the power to see. He's loud and nutty. Big fun.

There’s no getting away from the manic-depressive vibe of “Let’s Get Killed.” Under the fun jumpiness is the ominous stuff. The happy, danceable tracks give way to darker, whirling rhythms that seem to describe the ever-present potential danger of NYC. Bad dreams. Listening, I think, no, I could never go to New York, it would kill me. Rather, it would make it too easy to kill myself. I could turn off the cd player and think about that, but I am afraid to.

Thankfully, this fear slides back into danceable joy, like a moebius strip, always changing its surface, but always the same thing. It’s a great album, whether you know all about NYC or you’re stuck in your own speculation. David Holmes knows how to take your mind places, and how to manipulate what you see once you get there. Suspend your disbelief, let yourself focus on the sounds he brings to you, and you’re guaranteed a good trip, if not an entirely safe one.

01. Listen
02. My Mate Paul
03. Let's Get Killed
04. Gritty Shaker
05. Head Rush On Lafayette
06. Rodney Yates
07. Radio 7
08. The Parcus & Madder Show
09. Slashers Revenge
10. Freaknik
11. Caddell Returns
12. Don't Die Just Yet
13. For You