Des Ark – Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker

January 01, 1970




Argote’s latest full-length features eight baptism-by-fire songs of fury and
forgiveness, empathy and accusation. Skipping the get-in-and-get-out recording
of her previous releases, Rock the Boat took two years and two studios to finish, with attention to detail the sine qua non this time around.


explosive small-town kiss-off “Bonne Chance, Asshole,” the defiant
“It’s Only a Bargain,” and the snarling nightmare “Ashley’s
Song” (all recorded with guitarist Noah Howard and drummer Ashley
Arnwine), roil with tumultuous percussion and barbed guitar lines that snap and
lash like a flagellant’s chain. On the flip side, the It-was-nice-but-I-have-to-say-goodbye
break-up song “Howard’s Hour of 
Shower” and the twinkling “My Saddle Is Waitin’ (C’mon, Jump
On It)” seem so frail you worry they’ll shatter if not for choruses that
prop them up like drunken lovers: “If I keep dragging all these anchors
across my scars I ain’t never gonna heal,” Argote sings on the latter,
picking at the emotional wounds all the same. Argote’s vocals embody the
extremes, snarling and imploring on the aggressive numbers, half-whispered
pleas and sympathetic caresses on the latter.


subject matter can be brutal, and not always leavened by grace – both
“Ashley’s Song” and “Girls Get Ruff” feature rape scenes
that leave the narrator of the latter looking at males as a “stockpile of
weaponry.” But it’s all in keeping with songs that pull no punches, and
that often feature the author as the target. Argote can be in-your-face brazen,
but with songs that cut this close to the skin and music that hits its various
marks almost without fail, that’s not at all a bad thing.


DOWNLOAD: “Howard’s Hour of Shower” “Girls Get Ruff” BY JOHN SCHACHT



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