They don’t need words

Keri Carlson

Teletubbies” are dumb. They are just colored chubby costumes with adults inside who prance around and point at things. They make Barney look like a genius. What makes these alien-monkey creatures so annoying is their unintelligible jabbering – supposedly meant to appeal to toddlers. But as it turns out, this is not the problem of the “Teletubbies.” Their problem is a weak plot and boring visuals. The creator of the “Teletubbies” has kept the same concept of gibberish-talking aliens but has created an eye-popping acid-trip show called “Boohbah.”

Boohbahs are sparkling gumdrop creatures meant to be magical molecules of energy. Their purpose is to inspire children to move and exercise to equally trippy techno music. The Boohbahs are wonderful and we don’t need words to understand them.

Coachwhips lead singer John Dwyer does not speak in gibberish, but he might as well. His vocals sound as if they were screamed into an old answering machine from a cell phone while driving through a tunnel. Amid a thrashing guitar, a pounding keyboard and a banged drum, only a few words are recognizable. Though the direct translation is lost, the exuberance is not. Much like the Boohbahs, the point of the Coachwhips is to grab your immediate attention and get you to move. We don’t need actual words to tell us, the music speaks for itself.

On the Coachwhips’ latest album, “Bangers vs. Fuckers,” the band blows through classic, bluesy rock. Their loose, sloppy, fun feel is reminiscent of 1960s garage bands; only the Coachwhips give it a punk punch and drastically speed up the tempo. If Paul Revere and the Raiders hadn’t taken so much speed, they might have sounded more like the Coachwhips.

What makes the Coachwhips so successful at making heads bob is that both guitar and keyboard don’t fool around too much with crafting complicated melodies. Rather, they concentrate on enforcing the beat – at several points these instruments are played more like percussion.

Because of this playing style, most of the songs on the album sound very similar. In fact, you do not really even notice the different songs, just a series of shifts in the music that always return to a thumping pulse. Normally, this kind of lack of variety makes an album drag on. But Coachwhips keep the 11-song album to about 18 minutes. You don’t have enough time to get bored. When the band slows everything down suddenly on the last track and Dwyer sings goodnight (the first and only time on the album you can understand him), you’re left with a weird, kind of sad feeling, as if a good party ended too soon.