Space Tree/Locked Groove
Gargamel’s lead singer has a set of pipes that were reportedly delivered to him via intergalactic air-mail. After the subway roar and chanting, choking sound loops of “Intro,” Mandaddy exercises that Diesel Voice during “Karate Summer.” The tune kicks off with a staggering, stuttering drum rhythm, served up with some psychotic surf guitar chiming in the background. The insistent bass underscores chants of “bite, bleed, bruise, dodge, parry, thrust,” which reminds me of an old Daffy Duck cartoon for some reason. Perhaps that’s the intent, as a clean, pure melody rings out — the boyish voice of innocence regretting his existence, first apologetic, then furious: “I’d stab myself in the face with a knife if I thought it’d help, cause it couldn’t hurt.” Mandaddy then proceeds to turn into Satan, and the band explodes in a pounding, stomping, grinding mosh of a punk assault that rubbed its ass against my brain.
The dark jazzy riffs of “Malt Liquor Knights” finds the band in a seemingly contemplative mood, digital sound bytes concerning cannibalism are laced into an urgently minor free-form jam before turning out a quite lovely melody. El Diablo Guapo’s guitar solo during this song is acid for those who don’t do drugs, and heaven for those who do. “Title Track” is a brief sound clip that can really only be one thing, but you have to hear it for yourself.
“Booee Machine” starts like a Pink Panther movie, but soon explodes into a foaming blister of punk abrasion. Crazy Hector’s double-time bass riffs are like little carbonated soda bubbles streaking through the ears. Drum master Webb nails impossibly incongruous time changes throughout, molesting cymbals and whatnot. During the opening to “Crotch Monkey,” Mandaddy briefly channels the spirit of Danny Elfman and gets away with it. The band shoots for a miry social statement with “i.e. Happy,” which takes the subject of homosexuality and packages it in a collage of sound and fury that feels like a sonic piercing. My nipples are hard just thinking about it, sort of funny and frightening all at once. The funky, dark, and theatrical track “Little Milk Belly” is a wonderwork, with a deep-shit scary refrain from Servobeonic Man on keyboards, and a hooky chorus that Mandaddy stabs with conviction.
Throughout, production is mighty. The god-like Steve Pietrofesa of Demonic Sound Design brings screaming life to tracks such as the hilariously gruesome “The Birth of Little Milk Belly,” and the mixed-signals genius of “Secret Hand Shake.” If you laugh at the latter, you’re a sick motherfucker. “Juan40Lawyers” is a guitar-dominated track that features the coolest audio smash-up since Pink Floyd’s The Wall. During “March Of The Febermites,” Mandaddy pushes his neck to excruciating highs and lows, and then everything quiets down suddenly and he sounds sort of like Simon LeBon. The amusing “An Intellectual Discussion Concerning the Execution and Creation of the Previous Auditory Elements, and Their Content” is a fun box of auditory cookies that ends the album with a drunken flourish.
It’s clear that Gargamel intends to provoke, prod, shock and raise the temperature on the Uncomfortable Meter — but it also turns the gun upon itself enough to merit a listen. A fairly equal amount of nasty and nutty with lots of naughty thrown in for good measure, this one delivers like Peter North. Pick it up if you dare, and then you’re prepared to see them live.
Perhaps. Space Tree, 155 Mingo Trail #153, Longwood, FL 32750