One of my favourite Whitehouse-related anecdotes, probably apocryphal, involves Bruce Gilbert being taken to one of their gigs by a friend proclaiming them to be the future/end of music, a must-see, etc etc. Asked after the show what he thought, Gilbert just shrugs. Pushed to elaborate he says something along the lines of: “Well, it’s just rock’n’roll in it?”.
This might seem a wrongheaded assessment of William Bennett's Extreme Electronic Music ©, a project hatched in part because the industrial aktions of TG - never mind jukebox boogie woogie - seemed to him tame and toothless and essentially promising something they didn't deliver. But Bruce is not entirely wrong. In fact, conceptually speaking, you could argue that (good ‘ol bad ‘ol) rock’n’roll CULMINATES in Whitehouse, and perhaps even more specifically, in four words: 'My Cock's On Fire'. Even putting aside the fact that Bennett’s lordly libertine persona (not to mention his taste for oppressive volume!) has an awful lot in common with Jimmy Page (so what Bestie is Robert Plant?!), or even the fact that co-producer Steve Albini has claimed that Thank Your Lucky Stars - recorded in '88, and released in 1990 - was heavy metal inspired (I’m sure someone told me once about Bennett having an unlikely NWOBHM connection too…can't remember what now though), you need only take one look at the lyrics of the title track or 'MCOF' to see, plainly, that this is album is, if nothing else, a grotesque parody of macho r’n’r, with a correspondingly monstrous enlargement of its age-old themes (sex, power, violence ++). So yeah. I’m gonna say it. Thank Your Lucky Stars is THE LAST WORD IN COCK ROCK.
...which isn't very fashionable any more! Thank god. Everyone's a winner. The total unsayability, in the current climate, of most anything to do with this or any other Whitehouse record's content (we've been selective!) has pushed their morally repugnant corpus back underground where it belongs - degenerate art for scumbags like us to fawn over with our weird grubby cackling smug self-satisfied friends. And not, generally speaking, for you.
But what of the music darling?! Of course we shouldnae neglect to mention that this is one of the band's most fearsome and fully realised studio documents, Bennett’s vocals an invariably excruciating, needle-pointed yowl, but - especially on the aforementioned ‘My Cock’s On Fire’ - riding swells of analogue synthesiser noise with mid-range weft and weave which has, if not quite a CALMING effect, then a strangely hypnotic, sensuous one. I mean, in parts. There are also the other parts.
This special edition is effectively a vinyl rendering of the previously definitive 1997 CD Special Edition, which added four extra tracks from other sessions in Chicago recorded around that time. 2LP, edition of 500.