MENTALLY ILL, THE: Strike the Bottom Red: LP

Yes, this is indeed THAT Mentally Ill, the mysterious pack of psychopaths responsible for the brilliant 1979 Gacy’s Place EP. This is a reissue, so far as I can deduce, of an LP they recorded with Albini at the knobs, self-released back in 1999 and didn’t include on the Alternative Tentacles retrospective a few years back. Two songs from aforementioned EP, “Padded Cell” and “Tumor Boy,” are redone here alongside charmingly titled ditties like “Doggie Sex,” “Bathroom Gays,” and “Wrinkled Star,” to name a few, as well as a cover of the Modern Lovers’ “Pablo Picasso.” While the crisp production values temper the immediacy that made their debut so infectious, the band itself more than makes up for it in sheer weirdness, with quasi-choir backup vocals, saxophones, and all kinds of odd shit popping up here and there, all the while keeping things “punk” but approaching that moniker with a sound as inimitable as the Butthole Surfers, No Trend, and like-minded trailblazers. Fuggin’ great, this is.

 –jimmy (Last Laugh)