If there really is such a thing as swamp boogie, an affliction half between music and parasitic infestation, Rube Wadell be the vector. No, there’s no Rube Wadell in the band, though history tells us of one actual Wadell, some times back — look it up. Instead we have Mahatma Boom Boom, Reverend Wupass and Captain Feedback, lurching and slinking through a morass of fuzz, tinbox drums, and general slide-guitar ill ease. “Westward Rider” is an adolescent chant beat out on junkyard trash, while the rowdy “Joe Hill’s Will/The Ballad of Joe Hill” has harmonica wails on a rolling bed of kazoos and ukulele. Speaking of which, “Roy Smeck,” tribute to the ukulele master, also features penny whistle, a talking drum and a pseudo-Hawaiian refrain. Let’s not forget “San Pablo Rap,” where “Well you show up at the lake cus yo mama says you’re lazy, playin Klezmer in the hood says you’re gonna drive her crazy” is delivered as a Beastie Boys bust with a pirate refrain.
This is some weird shit. Even by my highly jaded standards, it’s weird. It’s also pretty catchy, with a kind of gap-toothed charm. Dragging “nobody likes me everybody hates me I’m gonna eat some worms” out of recess and into the studio yields something worthy of the Residents. And it makes me glad that even in this profit-driven music market, somebody is still willing to put it on the line for three commie freak geniuses like this. Vaccination Records, P.O. Box 20931, Oakland, CA 94611; http://www.vacrec.com