AWEFUL KANAWFUL: Clam’s Cassino: LP

Talented and ambitious (there’s two red alerts right there), these guys, whether intentionally or unintentionally, sound like some shockingly mutated strain of late ’60s/early ’70s radio pop, sprayed with so many structural and musical left turns that it is quite unnecessary for them to come out and say “WE COULD BE PLAYING JAZZ RIGHT NOW YOU KNOW” as the music just about shouts it into your hearing aid for you. As a result, we get the cloying aspects of pop music, coupled with the why-the-fuck-are-you-trying-my-patience-like-this aspects of art rock. They’re not entirely unsuccessful in their attempt to do whatever it is they’re trying to do—there are certainly some cool parts to this record, and I appreciate their clutches at greatness—but, overall, they remind me of what a completely undanceable version of Oingo Boingo (i.e., Danny Elfman’s ten-piece band, before he got famous doing gimpy movie music) might sound like if O.B.’s recording budget was approximately what one’d pay for a decent plate of pancakes. I’ll hate myself for saying this, but I’d like to hear them with, say, Magic Kids money in the studio budget. It might wind up sounding worse, but then we’d know for sure. Stay golden, Ponyboys! Unless you are not currently golden. I can’t really tell. BEST SONG: I like the “Help” section of “Help/Vanity/Caravan.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Motorwonder.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The first time I heard anyone say “Awful Kanawful” was when some older kids said it to my cousin, when he was trick-or-treating in his Evel Knievel costume in the ’70s.Rev. Nørb (Chocolate Chin)

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