BEING SCRUBBED REVIEWS

 

NME January 2001

Christian Ward

After V/Vm and their vicious assault on the sacred cows of nostalgia-pop, along comes avant-terrorist Rich X in his Girls On Top guise, to further disrupt the fabric of sonic spacetime. The concept here is so artfully executed that it's enough to rewire your synapses: 'Being Scrubbed' locks together The Human League's 'Being Boiled' with TLC's vocal from 'No Scrubs', a fit so perfect that you're suddenly shifted into an entirely alternate universe where the R&B classic is no longer an insouciant funky strut through hyper-beats but a menacingly apocalyptic goth-pop mantra...

...The icing on the culture-jamming cake is the 45's sleeve, which parodies the cover to Kraftwerk's 'The Man Machine', only with the unsmiling faces of Germany's finest faux-robots replaced with Whitney's cheesy-grin visage. Messing with heads that's Girls On Top all over.

 

www.freakytrigger.co.uk February 2002 new
Tom Ewing

The most interesting 80s revivalist around, though, is Girls On Top's Richard X. He's released two singles, with two tracks on each, and all four have used harsh early synth tunes for their backing - The Normal's "Warm Leatherette" and the Human League's "Being Boiled" on these two bootlegs, combined with Missy Elliot and TLC respectively. The backing tracks still sound cold and nasty - and yes, they still sound exciting too, these early, stumbling attempts to imagine what 'hooks' might mean in a more mechanised world. This music got called 'futuristic' - a word which settles on anything that uses new technology for imaginative ends. You can be 'futuristic' of course without having any bearing on how the actual future turns out - but the new-new wave bands are not. Richard X is.

For one thing he's presumably using new, cheaply available tech to sew his tracks together and get them heard - pirate MP3s, warez and shareware are the bootlegger's tools of choice, and this is as far away from a cosy fetish for analogue synths as you can get. For another what he does on his tracks is to mesh two kinds of android pop - the all-too-human robot music of the earliest 80s, and the chromium diva perfection of the late 80s and 90s. The results are doubly cyborg, and can make for hard listening. "Warm Bitch" takes one of Missy's least forgiving tracks and gives it a hydraulic refit, making both sources yet more aggressive. "Being Scrubbed" sees TLC's social Darwinism become crueller still with its sympathetic, catchy backdrop switched for the Human League's Year-Zero primitivism. The most effective "80s revival" tracks yet conceived, then, are not even imitations, but full-on steals of the original material, and they still sound fresher than the music their sources have inspired.

 

www.musicomh.com March 2004 new
Alexis Kirke

The marriage of the credible dance-bootleg production of Richard X with high profile pop-act Liberty X is not only a perfect career-expanding synergy for both, but also a powerful musical synergy in which the seventies meets the eighties during the noughties.

Having sampled Gary Numan on behalf of his electric friends the Sugababes, Richard X now turns to the Human League's first single Being Boiled. The League are familiar territory for Professor X - he previously slipped Being Boiled under TLC's No Scrubs vocal, forging the Girls on Top release Being Scrubs. For this latest track, TLC's vocal is replaced by the Lib X'ers (mainly Kelli) performing Chaka Khan's euphoric-disco love song Ain't Nobody.

Given the way that the Human League bass line (pumped up to speaker-shaking levels) abuses the original harmonic structure of Ain't Nobody, this new combination will not be to everybody's taste - in fact it will repel some listeners as much as it excites others. But thanks to Liberty X's pop-seal of approval, Kelli's powerful percussive vocal, and a thumping drum track, you can be certain that the excited will vastly outnumber the repelled during the weekly Dance and Pop Chart counts.