This is a serious party album. Or a pre-party album. Or a really excited post-party album even. Better yet, this is a completely unabashed party album, with no pretenses and no apprehension. Of course, when the majority of the tracks on your record reference doing drugs (“Now I’m here with my friends, we’ve been taking some drugs, it’s such fun, we’ll be taking some more soon”), wanting to do drugs (“Well I request you be my friend, we'll spend some time taking drugs”), or suggesting others do drugs (“Why don’t you try doing drugs again? You were never funnier than you were back then”), it’s nearly impossible to claim any agenda but a longing to rage, and to find company with which to do your raging.
Opening with a guitar riff that sounds like something off Lou Reed’s Transformer, the record does straightforward pop-rock with shocking acumen. It's full of “la-la’s” and “da-da-da’s”, paired with eminently singable lyrics, twanging guitars, and drums and bass that make it practically impossible to stay still. The only less-than completely upbeat song is “Weed”, where Jackie (nee John) McKeown appears to be sad because one of his friends won’t come party, and he’s stuck at home getting stoned by himself. Even when these dudes are moping, the music (and the drugs) push on though.
Musically, 1990s keep arrangements minimally doctored by studio trickery. Triangles or bells are thrown in a couple songs, and a keyboard or synthesizer appear only once twice to break up the three-man party. The record would probably be monotonous, with the (overtly) reoccurring themes and simplistic styling if it wasn’t so seamless and well-executed, not to mention only 27-minutes long. The last song, “Situation”, finds them branching out a little from the lyric-heavy, almost punk-anthemic character of the previous eight songs, into two-minutes with as many instruments as the rest of the album combined in a surprising moment that recalled for me their Rough Trade label mates Pere Ubu.
Despite their stated penchant for partying, these aren’t boys in their early twenties, nor even their late twenties. In fact, it’s more than possible they aren’t even in their thirties anymore. This isn’t an “up and coming” record from kids who are going to make a “grown-up” record next. This is a brazen record made by guys who’ve been partying for an awfully long time. It isn’t flashy and it hasn’t set out meaning to impress us, though I’m sure they’ll think it’s lovely enough if it does.
Let me be clear here, this is a really, REALLY good party record—impeccably done for what it is and more fun than nearly anything else I’ve heard in recent memory. So take Cookies at face value and don’t expect it to surprise or move you, but do expect to dance maniacally and suffer a barely repressed urge to get as wasted as possible, as soon as possible–preferably with these guys.