NOTE: I am looking at the 2004 remastered version of Dirk Wears White Sox which is comprised of the original 1979 album, two tracks off a 1979 7”, four tracks off the 1982 12” EP, and two tracks off the 1980 7” single all of which were originally released by Do-It Records.
If you’re looking for Prince Charming, well you sure won’t find him here. This strange post-punk debut album from Mr. Ant is quite far removed from the pop icon he later became, but it really is well worth a listen.
The music is sharp, sparse, and angular, pounding and jangling its way through this odd little album. The double drum kit, which became a trademark of the later Ants, doesn’t feature on this album, and Marco Pirroni, a later songwriter for the band, does not feature in the line-up (although he was the project producer for the re-release) which further removes this from the crew’s later pop albums, however, there are occasional whispers of the direction they are destined to take.
The songs themselves are equal parts pop, post-punk, pretention, and tongue-in-cheek humour, which makes for a lively mix that keeps the listener interested and wondering where in the hell this album is heading to next. Nine Plan Failed and Day I Met God have their little moments of disco inspiration, while Tabletalk sounds more like a churning Joy Division song, and Cleopatra and Physical come across as some kind of sleazy kink-punk. This eclectic mixture all seems to gel together, and makes for a great record.
The re-release is really very good and put together rather well, but they do go a bit overboard in their quest to gather together all of the early Ants material. I mean who really needs three versions of Car Trouble, which are all basically the same, on one CD?
All in all though, I would say that these songs are tightly put together and sound awesome. It’s also an interesting look at the weird beginnings of a great band. Its jangly silliness is probably not everybody’s cup of tea, but I would say that it’s probably worth giving a go. It takes some time to warm up to, but when you do there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had, especially in listening to Prince Charming, The King of The Wild Frontier, chanting BDSM inspired quips (Who taught ya to torture?)
One of my personal favorite tracks from Dirk Wears White Sox