Finally, Dead Milkmen fans have another reason to laugh. Joe Genaro, the vocalist and guitarist from the defunct goof-punk enigma is back with Butterfly Joe, his new project that also features the original drummer from the Dead Milkmen, Dean Sabatino. The outfit is undoubtedly more mature and musically complex than their band of five years ago, but Genaro hasn’t lost his intelligently twisted sense of humor. Instead, Butterfly Joe is a bundle of joy that sounds like the Dead Milkmen had a bastard child with a marching band and a small orchestra. Expect Beelzebubba with tubas and ukuleles.
Sometimes crude and sometimes just plain absurd, the album is a bit more somber than one might expect from these guys. The songs are, for the most part, very upbeat, but the subject matter is a bit on the self-loathing side. Still, their tunes are folky, poppy, ridiculously quirky and often ludicrously catchy; it’s almost as if Genaro is truly asking for people to laugh at him as well as with him. And laugh you will. To sweeten the deal, the album is so rewardingly eclectic that the material is far more than cheap laughs. Butterfly Joe is wonderfully smart, clever, fun and entertaining, and is without a doubt one of the best albums of the year.
Razler Records, 2300 Walnut St., No. 612, Philadelphia, PA 18103; http://www.razlerrecords.com