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For once, I'm reviewing something very strange... but actually enjoyable. Because although their music is not that bad to listen to, Oral is a serious case. I mean, when you see an album cover with three girls holding whips and the words "Oral Oral sex" written 4 times, yes I've counted them, you know you've found quite something. To add to the craziness, they have song titles like "Gas mask vicars and priests" or "Love pole", who all include "immortal lines" in their lyrics that I will detail later... It's clearly not a band that must be taken seriously. Anyway, you can't. So, considering you don't have to take them seriously, you can enjoy them for their weirdness.
As absurd as it sounds, yes, they are good for what they are. You have plenty of weird-bordering-on-ridiculous bands, but this is one of these who have some professionalism. Underneath the stupid lyrics, there is some pretty solid material. The first track, "Head", is a nice, energetic song, actually catchy and rather well-written. The rest follows this path. Without being amazing or noticeable players, they know what to do with their instruments. The guitarist can play more than decent riffs and solos and has a nice sound, unlike a lot of bands I've previously reviewed. The bass and the drums are more hidden and not particularly good, but not particularly bad either. All that is nothing extraordinary, but still nice enough to keep your interest. These are some easy-on-the-ear songs, that will probably get stuck in your head at one moment or another, whether you had expected it or not. Again, not the biggest revelation you'll ever have, but definitely something that will entertain you for a few minutes.
Yet this is not a "normal release" that you can judge with the same criteria as everything else. For example, there are two notable things that make this album disappointing to a lot of listeners. First, it's not very heavy, most of it is more rock than metal. But then, that means you have to like them as a band making simple, nice little music, energetic without being very powerful. Second, the vocals are not very fitting for heavy metal. They are very soft, without any sense of aggression, even sounding childish on "I need discipline". They are also noticeable for the singer's heavy British accent, although "heavy" seems paradoxical because of her soft voice. Yet there is something about her accent that I find really cute, which instantly makes her vocals enjoyable. I have a weird taste sometimes.
Then there are the lyrics, who are all about the joys of sex and sadomasochism. This might be one of Oral's biggest flaws, even to me since I usually dislike bands with such lyrical themes. I really see how most people wouldn't want to listen to a pseudo-metal rock band with lyrics about black leather and gas mask vicars and priests (what?) sung by an innocent voice. Most sado metal bands have a certain arrogance and vulgarity to their lyrics, and whenever I listen to them, (always because I'm tired and have nothing better to do), I feel like my brain is melting and dripping off my ears. In other words, I feel silly... and yet I don't feel this way with Oral. Yet I probably should, because of how cheesy their lyrics are. You have a lot of inventive but awkward metaphors like "love pole" and "I want you to give me pearl necklace", and a completely surrealistic "Quack, quack, he feels so-so, he never should have asked for black leather". Hilarious. Honestly, I laugh myself silly when I hear this. I'm having fun, but I'm not damaging my intelligence. Oral are talented enough for that to happen. They have a strange talent, yes, but there is something irresistibly funny, and just plain irresistible about them.
Did I just spend two paragraphs defending a band who calls them album "Oral sex" ? Oh, what can I say, we all have our moments of bad/weird taste. But when I want to get weird and have fun, this is what I'd choose to listen to. Try this... or maybe not, your choice.
The great sound of British heavy metal is something that can nearly make an album on its own. Crunchy, hollow guitars and a snare beefed up by gated reverb might as well be a time machine, watching the sands of time as you surf the new wave of British heavy metal. It's a few decades beyond Elvis Presley's suggestive hip-shaking, so bands needed to be a bit more provocative to garner attention through those means. The novelty value of three women dressed in black leather on the cover of an EP called "Oral Sex" would be the main selling point of this album if it was worth buying after the 80s, but the music just isn't very good.
The guitar and drum tones sound great, but the performances are nothing special. The guitarist sticks to typical 80s hard rock/metal stuff, I could take it or leave it, but it's nothing special. The drummer hasn't figured out that it sounds awesome when you whack your snare drum a lot, which as you already know in 2012 is one of the pinnacles of 80s heavy metal. There are a few build-up fills but they're really lackluster. I'm disappointed to hear straight-through playing on a record that chooses to confine its self-indulgence to the lyrics.
The vocalist is the centerpiece of the band, leading the music with dirty lyrics - any assumptions based on song titles like "Head", "Love Pole", and "Pearl Necklace" are probably correct. The last track is the most tasteless of them all, opting for a higher, childish tone, and singing about being 13-year-old jailbait, in those words. The lyrics aren't creative. The distraction tactic doesn't work there because the song sucks. The vocalist uses a very limited range and sings powerless, confined vocal lines that sound like dulled-down bubblegum pop. Soft singing all the way through doesn't work out here.
If you enjoy the style, it's worth a spin, but not much more. It's gimmicky and forgettable, it'll stick with you less than that pearl necklace they sang about.