April 2001 – EP reviews – Pushuan’s ‘Va Va Voom!’ (“gleaming teeth, waggling eyebrows and go-faster stripes”)

30 Jun

The carefree voice sails back: “Too fast to live, but too young to die. / Undertaking, in overdrive.”

Pushuan used to be the model-gorgeous frontman for glam-punks Vago, but apparently all that time he wanted to be a glamorous hybrid of James Hunt and Steve Harley; all gleaming teeth, waggling eyebrows and go-faster stripes. If not, the title track on his debut solo EP is one of the most enjoyable piss-takes I’ve heard in a long time – a perky paean to motoring excess that ought to be on perpetual repeat on Jeremy Clarkson’s Discman.

With the talents of fellow Vago-ist (and onetime Cay member) Ed Sonsino bolstering the music, ‘Va Va Voom!’ has all the bonkers retro thrill of a fat-motored dragster rally: firing pistons every which-way as it wobbles along, and pushing every cheap disco-rocker button in sight with its cheapo drum machine and raunchy guitar. Pushuan adds to the fun by singing half of it like a grease-monkey and the other half in ludicrous, free-associating posh-Biggles rapping – “hot pant, ball-bearing, gasoline, strip-tease, / party here, party there, posh glad rags; / Martini, Pina Baeur, suntan, October flower, / pedal to the metal on booze and fags…” It’s got the same “fuck you, we’re rich” playboy attitude as champagne and charlie served off a hot engine cowling. If it wasn’t so roaringly camp and you weren’t laughing so hard, you’d be firing grenades at it.

Pushuan is, in fact, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ on wheels and guitars. As much in love with wriggling his way into the in-crowd as he is with reducing the same scene through parody. The wacky agri-punk blast of ‘Cow’ aside (a goodbye kiss to Vago), this well-crammed EP is steeped in gossip-hungry pop and sardonic whispers. Beyond its hilarious analogue-disco gurgle, ‘The Boy with the Best Disco Tits in Town’ (“looking good, and he knows he’s it… / He puts the F.U. back into fun,”) paints a gleeful picture of the heartlessness of tastemakers. “He’s rolling with the homies and he’s got you in sight, / and you’ve got to be fit to keep pace. / But you’ll get nowhere near the sybarites, try as you might, / if he doesn’t like the look of your face.”

In his more rocking guitar-heavy moments, Pushuan picks at the disaffections and discontentments that fester further from the centre. ‘Clothed Coition’ sarcastically breaks down the horrible jaded slither from sex-thrill to sex-chill. “When a blue eye no longer suffices, / when all that comes to mind are a list of vices, / is it something we can use to slide? / Or is your saddle so high you won’t let me ride?” In particular, Pushuan’s advice for the dumped in ‘Specialise’ is fashionista culture par excellence: a “go, girlfriend” moment where the secret weapon turns out to be shoes to kill for. “You want to make him bleat? The answer’s at your feet… / So you lost your stud, went to your best bud, want to drink her blood… / There’s no need to blush: yeah, you’re looking lush. / You can rely upon what you’re standing on… / Taunting like a tart, make a brand new start. / Baby, must be art – when you specialise.”

Maximum bitchy glam magic.

Pushuan: ‘Va Va Voom!’
Bluefire Records, BLU18 (no barcode number)
CD-only EP
April 2001
Get it from:
(2022 update) Best obtained second-hand. No download re-release to date.

Pushuan online:

One Response to “April 2001 – EP reviews – Pushuan’s ‘Va Va Voom!’ (“gleaming teeth, waggling eyebrows and go-faster stripes”)”

  1. Dann Chinn October 1, 2022 at 9:13 am #

    This was released to coincide with that year’s ‘Gumball 3000’ motor rally, in which Pushuan himself allegedly participated in his own customised Pushuanmobile. Pushuan’s only other release was the self-released ‘Purple Patch’ single (which included a version of the theme music he wrote for the TV programme ‘Flash’), and that was so rare that I never saw it. I have no idea what happened to him next.

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