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Lovely Little Girls — Cleaning the Filth from a Delicate Frame
(Skin Graft GR108, 2012, CD / LP / DL)

Lovely Little Girls — Glistening Vivid Splash
(Skin Graft GR118, 2016, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-03-26

Cleaning the Filth from a Delicate Frame Cover artGlistening Vivid Splash Cover art

Here at Exposé, we’ve covered Lovely Little Girls on two different compilations, but haven’t reviewed any of their full albums. Well, it’s now time to catch up with this unusual Chicago band by looking at Cleaning the Filth from a Delicate Frame (2012) and Glistening Vivid Splash (2016). I’ll start out with a general observation comparing LLG with Frank Zappa. Both artists have a fondness for combining unconventional lyrics — often humorous, scatological, surrealistic, or a combination of the three — with very tight, very tricky instrumental arrangements that straddle numerous styles. You can also reference Procosmian Fannyfiddlers. The driving force is Gregory Jacobsen, who creates the visual art for the albums and provides the lead vocals. Scanning through the song titles, you can tell that this is not ordinary fare: “Massive Vulva Cantaloupe,” “Buttocks of Gloss,” “Corpse Thighs Dancing” — you get the idea. The lyrics themselves get even more explicit and disturbing, so listeners who are sensitive to depictions of bodily functions and sexual activities will end up feeling very uncomfortable. The instrumental side of the band is headed by trombonist Mike Hagedorn, who wrote all the music on Cleaning and is responsible for horn arrangements. On Glistening, songwriting duties are spread around. Regardless of who wrote them, the compositions are complex and unpredictable, full of references to jazz, funk, punk, and more, and they’re brought to life by a talented cadre of players: Alex Perkolup (bass), Charlie Werber (drums), Jon Beavo (keyboards), Cory Bengsten (saxophone), and Jim Cooper (guitar on Cleaning) and Jeff Goulet( guitar on Glistening). Aside from Jacobsen, there are a number of other singers, including Sacha Mullin, Aleksandra Tomaszewska, Carmen Armillas, Daniel Knox, and L. Wyatt. Hagedorn, Perkolup, Armillas, and Mullin have all been involved with Cheer-Accident, and there is a definite similarity in approach to arrangement that the two groups have in common. Certainly there is a willingness to embrace unpredictable changes and structural oddness, along with the chops to make it seem natural. Between these two albums, the basic impression a listener gets is somewhat different. Cleaning has more of a relation stylistically to funk and pop songs, spicing them up with visceral lyrics and tight arrangements, while Glistening really ups the art-rock flavor and includes less of the lyrical transgression. Cleaning the Filth from a Delicate Frame is much more abrasive, and I find the musical sophistication of Glistening Vivid Splash to be much more worthy of repeated listening.

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Sacha Mullin, Lovely Little Girls

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