Monday, August 27th, 2018

Jake Shears – Big Bushy Mustache

Paying tribute to soup strainers everywhere…


Stephen Eisermann: Mustaches are sexy and so is the guitar on this track, but just like a mustache can’t save an ugly mug, sexy guitar can’t save an otherwise dumb song.

Alex Clifton: “Is this song really about mustaches or is this a euphemism?” I wondered. It is, indeed, actually about mustaches. How much you like this, I think, depends on how much you like camp and novelty; lucky for me, I like both.

Alfred Soto: He’s going for Freddie Mercury in filthy rockabilly mood, mixed with Supercuts commercials and Kenny Loggins, and, damn, is he infatuated with the distorted “I’m a Believer” riff he came up with. The falsetto is a regrettable idea. Ersatz in a disappointingly innocuous way, our Jake: never as crude as he believes himself to be. 

Nicholas Donohoue: Jake Shears has always straddled the line between ’70s camp à la Freddie Mercury and all in commitment of a joke à la Weird Al Yankovic with mixed results. Usually I’m into it when he is the joke, but when the song is the joke it just fizzles and in this case I’m now left thinking about Shears’s body hair preferences.

Taylor Alatorre: Much of the difference between whether an act is perceived as appropriation or tribute comes down to how good you are at performing the role. In connecting the dots between Dr. John, glam rock, and his own previous work, Jake Shears sidesteps any such charges by putting on an act convincing enough that you’ll want to play along. He transcends the typical radio-ready stomp rocker by knowing exactly when to pull back and when to push on ahead, never allowing the requisite displays of gritty authenticity to get in the way of a good rhythm.

Thomas Inskeep: Even though his debut self-titled solo album seems like a “roots” move — recorded with members of My Morning Jacket! — “Big Bushy Mustache” sounds an awful lot like prime Scissor Sisters, with a disco drum tattoo anchoring it, along with some wah-wah guitar, and Shears getting as queer as he wants to be. And I kid you not, there’s a real sexy, masculine energy to this, somewhat akin to parts of the latest Fischerspooner album, to cite another recent queer comeback. (Fun fact: for their 2010 club tour in support of Night Work, Scissor Sisters were supported by a solo Casey Spooner.) I admittedly came to this single with low expectations, but they’ve been radically exceeded. 

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