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Shannon Selberg wants to make rock music you can fuck to. The Heroine Sheiks singer/bugler—whose deranged stage performances helped make the Cows, his former band, one of the most fascinating live acts of the final decade of the 20th century—told me recently that the Heroine Sheiks aim to “put rock back in the fucking business.” And he predicted that their debut CD would become a make-out masterpiece, the next Let’s Get It On.

Well, I can only hope he was pulling my leg. Because although the Heroine Sheiks’ album is great, I can’t imagine a single, solitary person, of whatever sexual persuasion, deviation, or perversion, ever putting it on to get it on. Marvin Gaye it ain’t. For starters, there’s the little matter of the CD’s title: Rape on the Installment Plan. Then there’s the music, which is, I suspect, unpleasing to most human ears and comes in three varieties: fast and loud, slow and loud, and turn-that-shit-off! loud. And then there’s Selberg’s bugle playing. Ever wonder why romantic schlockmeister Kenny G spurned the bugle in favor of that ridiculous soprano saxophone? It’s because the sound of a bugle is about as sexually stimulating as dingo spittle.

But even though Rape is hardly what I’d call sex music, it certainly touches on sex, or at least on sexual politics. Selberg has always specialized in tipping sacred cows—witness Peacetika, the 1991 Cows album whose cover featured a symbol that was, as its title suggested, half peace symbol, half swastika. With Rape, Selberg has his say on the subject of sex, and the results will likely be offensive to some. Selberg’s offensiveness isn’t the oblivious fratboy obnoxiousness of Limp Bizkit; he’s not encouraging women to show him their tits. His line-crossing is smarter, more deliberate, a provocation. But Selberg has always refused to curb his outrageousness in order to succeed in the music biz. “Trying to get ahead by doing the right thing in rock,” he told me, “is like putting on a suit and tie to buy a lottery ticket.”

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That Selberg considers sex to be warfare conducted by other means is made evident on Rape’s “Let’s Fight.” In the past, Selberg’s done more deranged larynx twisting than actual singing. But he’s obviously been taking crooning lessons, and on “Let’s Fight” he adopts the smooth and seductive tone of a lady’s man to tell the same old story—jealousy turns what could be a night of romantic bliss into the battle of Stalingrad. In the hands of your average socially aware rocker, such a scenario would be fodder for a well-meaning—and probably humorless—treatise on gender inequality. With Selberg, the results are a howl. A laundry list of possible relationships between the singer’s girlfriend and her phantom lover (“He’s just an old friend/He’s not your type/He’s like anemic/A brother, a buddy/And besides he’s gay/Oh how could I doubt you”) is followed by the announcement, hilarious in its deadpan resignation, of that evening’s plans: “We’re gonna fight/We’re gonna bite/We’re gonna argue/And bicker/And loudly discuss it.”

Selberg has less success on “Wandering Mongrel,” the CD’s opening cut. The music is all bluster, joining a huge drum sound to an off-kilter funk groove that lurches along like James Brown with a clubfoot. But the lyrics are sexist claptrap and, this time, Selberg doesn’t seem to be joking. I’m willing to forgive him only because of “You Never,” which is quite the departure for Selberg: a quiet song about yet another jealous guy that shows every sign of not being a cynical joke. In his suavest tone, Selberg sings, “I’m laying you down/A perfect night on the town/You fade away slow/I’m watching you as you go” before getting to the heart of the matter: “Why don’t you dream about me/You never dream about me.” It’s a strangely honest and emotional song for Selberg, and damn near a great one.

Musically, the Sheiks—besides Selberg, Norman Westberg (formerly of Swans) on guitar, George Porfiris on bass, and John Fell on drums—produce the aural equivalent of a train wreck. (Which is why, when a recent Sheiks show at the South by Southwest festival in Austin was interrupted by a real train wreck, hardly anybody noticed.) Their rhythmic, bottom-heavy punk flirts with the cacophony of free jazz, solders mutant funk to metal, and occasionally settles for rabbit-punching your eardrums. My personal favorite is “Jew Jitsu,” a funky, industrial-strength groove that couples a throbbing bass line that would make James Brown proud with guitars that sound like Devo being fed into a wood chipper. In a just world, “Jew Jitsu” would be the club hit of the season, uniting freaks of all races, colors, and musical creeds in a dance that has yet to be invented. It’s an idealistic hope, perhaps, given that my wife places the song firmly in the turn-that-shit-off! category.

“Space Invader” is another genre-mixer, beginning with a simple drum beat and repetitive, fuzzed-up bass line and building to a crescendo of pounding percussion and screaming-jet-engine guitars that, in the Great Dissonance Sweepstakes, I’d gladly bet on against anything by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. But just when you begin to worry that the Sheiks have given up on banging their heads against the punk rock, they throw “I Got Doubts”—which boasts some of the woolliest mastodon guitars ever to crash through the garage door—and “OKKK” at you. Not to mention “Effity Eff,” a charmingly self-deprecating tale about a born loser who begins his evening trying unsuccessfully to seduce the “pretty girls” at a “model bar” and ends, after a series of misadventures, “locked up with a rapist/A one-eyed child molester/And an angry drunken wrestler.” It’s a wonderful shaggy dog of a song and has the greatest chorus I’ve ever heard: It goes, “Fuckity fuckity fuckity fuck!” CP