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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Butthole Surfers: Humpty Dumpty LSD

BUTTHOLE SURFERS: HUMPTY DUMPTY LSD (1982-1994; 2002)

1) Night Of The Day; 2) One Hundred Million People Dead; 3) I Love You Peggy; 4) Space I; 5) Perry Intro; 6) Day Of The Dying Alive; 7) Eindhoven Chicken Masque; 8) Just A Boy; 9) Sinister Crayon; 10) Hetero Skeleton; 11) Earthquake; 12) Ghandi; 13) I Hate My Job; 14) Space II; 15) Concubine Solo; 16) All Day; 17) Dadgad.

Although the Surfers never disbanded officially and, in fact, continued to exist as a touring outfit throughout the first decade of the 21st century, the release of this odds-and-ends compilation in 2002 was telling — it's like a shadowy retrospective of the band's entire career, where, for one last time, you can quickly browse through all their life stages and remind yourself what exactly it was that they brought to the table. That said, I must admit that there is pretty little here to go ga-ga over; mostly, it's just stuff for the loyal zealots and the historians, and much of it presented here in awful «home recording» sound quality, too.

Of minor interest are such tracks as the Rembrandt Pussyhorse outtake ʽI Love You Peggyʼ, whose title may be a not-too-subtle reference to Buddy Holly (Gibby does begin singing it in a slightly Buddy-ish hiccupy voice, but then the vocal overdubs quickly head into the realm of total insanity, and Leary's shrill folk-pop riff is the only thing that allows the song to preserve some structure); the instrumental ʽEindhoven Chicken Masqueʼ from the same sessions, with a lively mariachi brass fanfare section and a blazing guitar break from Paul; two outtakes from the Butt­hole Surfers sessions, ʽJust A Boyʼ and ʽI Hate My Jobʼ, reminding you of how this band actual­ly started out as an aggressive punk rock outfit — this stuff just sounds like frickin' Black Flag; and, all of a sudden, a cover of the 13th Floor Elevators' ʽEarthquakeʼ from the Hairway To Steven sessions — where you realize the uncanny resemblance of Gibby's voice to Roky Erick­son's — but, although Leary adds some excellent psychedelic guitar solos, I also find myself strangely missing the electric jug of the original.

The rest of these songs are even less memorable — some poor-quality demo recordings where the low frequencies drown out all the high ones; some chaotic noise tracks that sound just like any other chaotic noise track (ʽHetero Skeletonʼ; ʽSpace IIʼ); and some brief throwaways like an out of place thick fuzzy bass solo (ʽConcubine Soloʼ) or a «bonus track» that says hello to Napalm Death by being only six seconds long (no vocals, though). A keen musical ear may extract the beginnings of a few nifty ideas here and there, but it's all raw and unfinished. And they probably shouldn't have screwed up the sequencing — as I said, historically-minded people are more like­ly to be interested in these outtakes than those who are too lazy to care about what came after what, and this means that you'll have to re-assemble it all back together in chronological order. On the other side, you can say that Butthole Surfers never wrote music for lazy people — or, for that matter, that they never wrote music for organized people. A mess is a mess is a mess, whichever way you'd like to look at it, so here's one more chunk of mess for you.

1 comment:

  1. This is the only official Butthole release I just don't care for.

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