Don’t Let it Be
From the “Valley of the Sun,” the six-piece combo, Playboy Manbaby returns in 2017 to offer up their latest, and arguably strongest work to date, Don’t Let it Be.
As a devoted old school Frank Zappa / Circle Jerks enthusiast, I recognize and appreciate the musical authenticity of this concise and cohesive collection. In fact, it (almost) reflects the kind of records I was making – back when I was 25.
Residing stylistically somewhere between Jello Biafra and Charles Nelson Reilly, frontman Robbie Pfeffer leads his crew boldly through this gloriously raucous cavalcade with all the smug, yet naive, self-deprecating conviction of a bona-fide punk rock superstar.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will confess to being one of those ignorant, uneducated, right-wing, Christian wackos who are seemingly mocked throughout this 11-song effort – yet I still “get it” – totally, dude. The musicianship here is absolutely world-class. Heck, you couldn’t wedge a piece of dental floss between the super-tight dynamic duo of bassist Chris Hudson and drummer Chad Dennis. And for his part, TJ Friga just might be my new favorite guitarist. As for the songwriting, arrangements, and production – all superb. KUDOS! I even “get” much of the lyrical content, really.
The lead-off YouTube hit, “You Can be a Fascist Too” is simply hilarious – and just who hasn’t wanted to tell the boss, “Fuck You” every now and again, right? However, while I certainly can relate (completely) to the troubling sentiment articulated in the lyrics of “Self-Loathing in Bright Clothing,” I challenge the assertion that, “the only exit is an early death.” Furthermore, as a frail little old man who now volunteers in Christian Youth ministry and who has brought food, clothing and medicine to folks in need while on several recent global missionary trips – I found “White Jesus” to be the embarrassing brown skid mark in the seat of what is otherwise an overall exciting, noteworthy and very clever release.
In sum, despite not subscribing to certain lyrical aspects of the record, I’ve listened to it a bunch of times – I’ll likely listen to it a bunch more. And I’m also quite eager to experience the band live at various stops along this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.