Slippin’ an’ slidin’ on slippery slopes, American merry punksters scale a stinking heap of life once again.
What’s a better way to celebrate one’s 40th year on our dirty earth than issuing an album fans have been waiting for a dozen years? – especially, when a previous anniversary was passed on and the festivities a decade from now might be off because the advance of political correctness can make this ensemble impossible to tolerate. So here’s as good an excuse as any for quite an unapologetic collective who express regret, on the judicial system’s command, only to legitimate their irreverent creative method – otherwise, why cut “Three Little Pigs” anew, in a slightly heavier form, and have Wink Martindale guest on it or invite “Weird Al” Yankovic to grace the growl ‘n’ groove of “Pukebox”? Not that such a voicemail-styled ruse can’t fully justify Bill Manspeaker’s often blatant approach and the inclusion of not-too-hilarious songs on his group’s fifth record.
There’s really not much fun in the fierce, bass-slapped assault of “Fuxk It” or cringeworthy, on sonic and lyrical levels, “Beat My Meat” but the attack on “Silence Of The Squarepants” – a blistering, if Nickelodeon-provoking, piece of metal-cum-reggae – is genuinely infectious. However, while the electronica-tinctured, self-aggrandizing “Champion” and “Punk Rock Pope” are belligerent enough to wipe a smile from the listener’s face, despite arresting guitar lines, the similarly-aligned, street-boast “333” – which harks back to the veterans’ 1994 platter of the same title – and the properly punk-folksy “Drinking Song” are guaranteed to smear it back on. And though “Hey Hey Hey” sound like Joey and Johnny on downers, “Freetoe Feet” produces a nicely poised noise, before “Ballad Of Green Jellÿ” – another CD-exclusive number – starts oozing a bluesy dirge, the sweetest tune on display and the jangly “Mægnus Ærena” ups this hoodoo jive.
Had the ensemble and their multiple peers who play here shortened this offering, its impact – coupled with artwork delivered by one of the original “Garbage Pail Kids” artists – would be stronger; as it is, the results of their efforts feel rather blunt.