Let’s Wrestle – In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s

January 01, 1970





In the
Court of the Wrestling Let’s
is a crooked-toothed grin of
an album, all cocky bravado and bristly post-punk brashness on the surface, but
with an engaging undercurrent of goofy vulnerability. Feckless charm will only
get you so far, but that’s where Let’s Wrestle takes you. They are, as Wesley
Patrick Gonzales intimates in a voice that’s cracked all the way through, the
men you’ll grow to love.   


Musically, these songs are mostly founded on a spatter of
eighth note guitars, a barrage of frantic drums, an occasional dropped-in,
sing-along chorus.  Above it all,
Gonzales reigns with a half-baked charisma, letting his romantic insecurities
(“I’m in Love with Destruction”, “It’s Not Going to Happen”), adolescent humor (“Diana’s
Hair”) and mild psychosis (“Insects”) hang out with a slip-sided smile. A
couple of times, the band dips a toe into milder, more melodic waters, with the
ukulele-strummed lyricism of “Only in Dreams” and the waltz-timed,
doo-wop-tinged “My Schedule.” Yet mostly this is about young men bashing
guitars and hammering drums and making triumphant choruses out of the silly
things that flit through their heads. It’s fun, in a rough-hewn, mildly funny,
self-aware sort of way — like Art Brut but not as clever – mostly because it’s
never entirely clear how seriously you are supposed to take all this.   


Both the title and the final track give a nod to King Crimson,
not just with the jokey transposition of the band name, but also with a wild
and woolly foray into guitar Fripp-ery, which is no less enjoyable for being
wholly unexpected. As clumsy as youth, as charming and graceless and
ingratiating as half-grown boys can be, this is the kind of album you can only
do once. After that it’s either grow up or sink into self-parody…and let’s hope
Let’s Wrestle takes the more difficult path.


: “Diana’s Hair”, “The Men You’ll Grow to Love”, “It’s Not Going


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