CARGO CULT: Strange Men Bearing Gifts: CD

A reissue of a 1986 release by a short-lived band fronted by former Big Boy lead singer Randy “Biscuit” Turner and featuring a Jesus Lizard member or two. As can be expected, the sounds mushed together here are pretty diverse: you get everything from a jazzy neo-bop poetry piece, hardcore punk ditties, an instrumental that would’ve fit in nicely in the Cocteau Twins very early repertoire, cowboy-core and art-damaged rock all in one sitting. Considering this was recorded nigh on seventeen years ago, the tracks still sound pretty damned fresh, although I will add that the “big room” sound of the recording kinda sucks some of the power out of the performances. Still, Biscuit was/is such a great singer that this could be a fuggin’ Backstreet Boys album and would sound like the best goddamned thing out on the market. This is not to downplay the efforts of those who shared stage and vinyl with the man, but, in a scene long up to its eyeballs with warblers and shouters, Biscuit has remained a rare gem among punk singers – a dude that can back personality with actual talent. Pick this up, along with all the reissued Big Boys discs and get (re)acquainted with true greatness.

 –jimmy (Touch and Go)