Barnes & Barnes
Holidays in Lumania
Demented Punk Records
Chances you’ve heard of Dr. Demento, the DJ who dedicated his life to putting novelty albums on the popular turntables and Walkmen of America. One of his most consistent sources is the mysterious musical duo Barnes and Barnes. Over their career they written and produce eight albums and countless singles, and each one has been just a little weirder than the last. This is their long awaited holiday album, and while their vocals are a bit scrunchy, their music is low brow and high concept and I find it grows on me. There’s a logical build here beginning with “Christmas in Lumania.” Lumania is the fictional world B&B created to encapsulate their particular flavor of weird. The music is rather march like, and their goal her it to comment on the holidays, and not to spin out classic holiday standards for the future.
We begin with “Christmas in Lumania” and learn of odd holiday rituals of this distant land. That include Fish Heads for the holiday meal, and observing that when newt are eating cheese, Christmas is here. No I have no idea what that sentence means, but it’s on the album. Barnes and Barnes then systematically mow down every year’s end tradition starting with dysfunctional families (“Down on Candy Cane Lane”), gratuitous sex (“Horny at the Holidays”) and then fire pot shots at Hanukah, Kwanzaa, dysfunctional families and of course, Jesus. If your still with them at the half way point look sharp. The Angel of Death appears around track 11, and here Santa takes us by the hand and we discover Santa is a Martian. The collection punches out with “Silent Night, Holy Newt.” We even get an opportunity to meet the J Man himself with “Jesus Groovy.” I chatted with him about the holiday, and he’s really embarrassed by the whole thing, and wished Easter got more ink. I told him I’d see what I could do.
So. What do we have here? If you’re a religious traditionalist, your head will spin off very uncomfortably. If you dislike the holiday yet celebrate it, I expect to hear ironic laughter and as you do shots of cinnamon wild turkey. If you love all thing X-Mass no matter what, you’ll smile and walk away quickly with a nervous laugh. If you’re a music critic, you will thank the producer you finally have something interesting to write about. This record is weird, difficult to play though, but packed with biting social commentary and odd insight. Give thank for the good Doctor D; he gives musical misfits hope.