Posted by: Johnny Loftus on May 30, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Les Savy Fav, After the Balls Drop (French Kiss, 2008)

Listen: “The Equestrian”

A live album just seems so 1970s. Or 1960s: in the melee that opens After the Balls Drop, some dude yells out “Love Me Two Times” as a request. But the stigma didn’t stop Les Savy Fav, the longstanding NYC indie rock crew led by jokester and one-man dynamo Tim Harrington. (If you’ve seen them live, you’ve certainly inhaled his body hair.) And after the joshing, they get right into it with the frazzled post-punk of “The Equestrian,” followed by “Patty Lee,” “What Would Wolves Do?”, and “Yawn Yawn Yawn.” Later highlights include a brief, shouted cover of CCR’s “Hey Tonight” that falls backward into the Pixies’ “Debaser,” as well as “Who Rocks the Party.” But for Fav fans, Balls Drop isn’t really about the music. The versions heard here are what you’d hear at any of the band’s shows. No, it’s the Harrington banter, cluttering up the fits and starts of these songs and clogging their back ends with observations from the stage. That’s what types want a document of, and Les Savy Fav know it. Why else would they include “Tim Song,” a fourteen-minute mess of song, rambling, and crowd interaction? In that respect, After the Balls Drop is totally 70s, since no label in the current context of the industry would put out something this erratically self-indulgent. Leave it to Harrington, his band, and the label his bassist runs to bring back arena rock. Kind of. — Thomas Rooker White

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