Tipper Whore's full-length debut gives us Just the Tip 

Sticking It to the Mothers of Prevention

Sticking It to the Mothers of Prevention

At a time when pop culture seemed likely to collapse under the weight of its own ego, along came glam to save the day by parodying the strained macho artificiality of contemporary rock 'n' roll, making some outstanding guitar-driven pop music in the bargain. Though they don't borrow much sonically from T. Rex or The Sweet, the mischievous, lascivious, camp-loving stance of local six-piece Tipper Whore, whose debut LP Just the Tip arrived earlier this week via Michael Eades' YK Records, may be just what the recent garage-rock revival needs to keep its flame burning bright.

Formed in the wake of someone's wisecrack about Tipper Gore — co-founder of the Parents Music Resource Center, whose 1985 push for legislation to mark potentially offensive records with Parental Advisory stickers rubbed even John Denver the wrong way — the group tackles vices of all kinds with a knowing grin. They draw immediate comparisons to The B-52's with their over-the-top costumes, tongue-in-cheek humor and double female vocals from bassist Megan Kellar and shovel-wielding auxiliary percussionista Meredith Goucher, who support frontman Ryan Breegle. He frequently performs his dark, dramatic croon in drag, enhanced by a few days' stubble.

Where their Athens, Ga., forbears danced the tightrope between art punk and New Wave, the Whore clearly spent some time in the garage — the dark corner where The Cramps once played with the sharp tools, no less. Guitarists Kelly Bolick and Jason Goucher lock into the pocket and keep pace with drummer Nick Clark's swinging, hard-driving rhythmic backbone, allowing the band to build up the ingenious arrangements that define their sound. "Benjamin Braddock Is a Motherfucker" is where this skill at juggling moving parts shines brightest, in which three layers of interlocking vocals condense The Graduate into a snarling, two-minute-45-second opera.

From "I Will See Your Lovely Faces in Hell," which calls out social foibles to which we're all susceptible, to "Day Drunk," a self-explanatory ode to imbibing, the songs were tracked with just the right amount of grit at Patrick Himes' Reel Love Recording Company, newly relocated to a former church near Charlotte Pike.

"It felt like I was back in Catholic school, breaking into the rectory with my youth group buddies and stealing sips of church wine," muses enthusiastic ringleader Meredith Goucher.

Tipper Whore stands out as allies for LGBT equality because they're a formidable rock band of straight folks with an openly gay frontman, but they go a step further by including two songs about gay sex on their album. Performed with the same wicked glee and drawing from the same stockpile of sly innuendo as the rest of their catalog, "Two Sticks" and "Summer Sausage" take the stigma out of gay sex by putting it on a level with hetero sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and everything else that's upset authority figures for generations — with little lasting harm when practiced with consideration for others.

Email Music@nashvillescene.com.


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