Metroland (Review)
Metroland, Vol. 27 No. 31
By Carlo Wolff
Transcribed by Metroland Online
9 Cover Image
Lucky Pierre
ThinKing (Lucky Pierre Music)

Lucky Pierre, Prick’s nicer face, surfaces hard and brilliant two years after Prick’s The Wreckard, Kevin McMahon’s jagged, tormented return to form. Pierre and Prick live in McMahon’s head, expressing different parts of a personality that is tangled, indeed. Fame burned McMahon in the ‘90s, when he recorded as Prick for Trent Reznor’s Nothing label and toured with the Nine Inch Nailhead and David Bowie. Lucky Pierre was his band in the ‘70s and ‘80s; Reznor—and Tom Lash, McMahon’s key supporter—is a graduate. Lucky Pierre never dies, he embers—and occasionally bursts into flame, like here. ThinKing is a very fine, very edgy pop record. It’s also Lucky Pierre’s first CD.

The 11 tracks on ThinKing, largely recorded by McMahon in his apartment in suburban Cleveland, are exemplary pop-rock, from the eerie, metallically sensual “Clouds” to “Attitude,” a twisted power ballad about the perils of domesticity and curdled Catholicism, two of McMahon’s most inspiring obsessions. McMahon’s music is insidious and infernally catchy; tunes like “Sidewalking,” razorblade rockabilly with a bass line from Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody,” is about blacking out from booze, and “Saint of Blue,” a harlequin folk tune that shifts gears and dynamics with ease to showcase Lucky Pierre’s more pastoral side, hold your inner ear captive.

Where The Wreckard was wildly experimental and abrasive, ThinKing is more accessible. Some tunes date to what would have been Prick’s follow-up album for Nothing, a project scuttled in the late ’90s; some seem much more recent, like “Beginning,” McMahon’s disavowal of the inner darkness that is his muse—and has often consumed him.

Various friends help here, like former Exotic Bird Andy Kubiszewski, on occasional drums; Garrett Hammond, sometime drummer and frequent engineer; and Warne Livesey, who produced the first Prick album. McMahon, however, is the force here, and he’s equally good at lyrics and music. Packed with quadruple entendres, fractured French and cleverly masked accounts of truly painful events, ThinKing reminds you how expressive pop can be—and how very hard it can rock. (For ordering information, some lyrics and some MP3s, go to www.luckypierremusic.com.)