Faster Pussycat - Between the Valley of the Ultra Pussy

Warning: This is not a greatest hits package! When I originally heard about this album and read the track listing, I figured it was a standard greatest hits release, complete with the obligatory cover and an unreleased track. The two bonus tracks are the only reason I would have been remotely interested in this release, because being a huge Faster Pussycat fan, I had already worn out the bonus tracks from their first three albums.

However, my anticipation turned to vexation as I realized that vocalist Taime Downe's experimentation in his side project 'The Newlydeads', had been infused into the sleazy Faster Pussycat classics, and rendered these songs virtually unrecognizable. 'Bathroom Wall', with its unmistakeable guitar riff, was one of the few that I could identify quickly, while many of the others, such as 'Smash Alley', 'Cathouse', and 'Where There's a Whip' took much longer to distinguish. Most disheartening was the destruction of the ballad formerly known as 'House of Pain'; one of the most heartfelt songs in their catalog, reduced to emotionless techno-drivel, and I can't see the reasoning behind it.

That being said, the album ends on a somewhat brighter note with 'I Was Made For Loving You - Kiss', which wasn't altered nearly half as much as the Pussycat tunes, and ended up sounding a bit like a Dead or Alive dance mix, and finally, the hidden gem of the disc; an unreleased demo, titled 'Blood'. The thankfully non-techno track is obviously from the 'Whipped' studio sessions, and would have fit quite nicely with that album. In fact, it's better than a few of the songs on that album.

I could see fans of techno/industrial enjoying this CD, especially if they are not familiar with Faster Pussycat's previous work, but at the same time, any long time fan will be sure to feel alienated and disappointed with this release, as I was.

by Dan Earley

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