Jul 29, 2010

…so i’m halfway through the dancy nu-waveness of the first track, “Those Sexy Saucer Gals,” and my initial thoughts are that maybe i liked the song better when i wrote it twelve years ago and it was called “UFO,” but whatever, and, as the wistful ballad of wrong-way space impregnation trots onward, i can’t help but think that the singer’s smarmy deadpan delivery kinda reminds me of somebody, though i can’t quite put my finger on it. By the second song ((a merry tale of failed shoplifting entitled “Who Threw That Ham at Me”)), the singer—or, more correctly, the person whom the singer is clearly ripping off—is really beginning to gnaw at me. Jonathan Richman? Nah, not him.Then whom? As i continue attempting to put a finger on the identity which has thus far eluded fingering, said singer makes reference to being at a Piggly Wiggly™ supermarket, which immediately leads me to suspect that the band is from Chicago, on accounta i’ve always imagined Piggly Wiggly™ to be a Midwestern thing, and i can’t imagine a city in the Midwest besides Chicago that would spawn this sort of ironically gayish deadpan ham-and-sexy-aliens dance-rock. That particular line of thinking leads me to wonder if this band isn’t somehow derived from the sugary remains of Deadly Cupcake, the Windy City unit who backed up Fred Schneider on that ‘90s solo album of his, which, in turn, starts a veritable electromechanical pinball machine of bumpers, bells and knocker rods in my head: FRED SCHNEIDER! OF COURSE! THIS SINGER IS SHAMELESSLY, UNABASHEDLY, WHOLE-HEARTEDLY TRYING TO APE FRED SCHNEIDER OF THE B-52’S! As the lilting strains of “Totally Nude Island” stroke my cochlea, my embarrassment at having taken so long to identify the source material abates in favor of me laughing at just how slavishly this guy is aping Fred Schneider. I mean, holy shit, it’s cool to have musical influences and such, but THIS dork is really overdoing it, as far as sounding like a cartoon character of a gay private detective on a case on Planet Love goes! Undaunted, i start poring over the CD insert, trying to find evidence to corroborate my theory that the band—and their unrepentant Fred Schneider ripper-offer vocalist—are from Chicago. I don’t find out any of that. I do find out, however, why the vocalist has been reminding me so much of Fred Schneider: It, uh, IS Fred Schneider. Huh. In any event, this is not a bad little disc—it sounds like what i imagine the B-52’s would have sounded like if they were all guys, came along thirty years later, didn’t own Martha And The Vandellas records and eliminated that one pesky holdout electrical stringed instrument from their lineup. And who can imagine life without four mixes of “Totally Nude Island,” anyway? BEST SONG: “Who Threw That Ham at Me” BEST SONG TITLE: “Who Threw That Ham at Me” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: There are actually no Piggly Wigglys in the state of Illinois, but there are lots down South. Who knew?

 –norb (HHBTM)