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Thursday, July 02, 2009

CD Review: Psychostick - Sandwich

Psychostick - Sandwich
2009 Psychostick, LLC/Rock Ridge, LLC
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

As much a part of every rock, punk and metal scene, there has to be the practical joker anti-band or two watchdogging and roasting the frontrunners if not serving to be utterly sassy, but to point out the simple fact a lot of bands take themselves far too seriously.

Whether you're talking about Tenacious D, S.O.D. and Adrenalin OD, or even Scatterbrain, Bloodhound Gang and Spinal Tap, this cheeky little subdivision of rock has habitually made itself welcome as a referee against the mainstream, so long as there's a point--subtle or blunt--to be made for its baldfaced insanity.

Psychostick may come off as idiot savants considering a lot of what they sing about are everyday common crap such as oranges, hoagies, salsa and taking showers, but the Texas taco munchers who once released an album called We Couldn't Think of a Title in 2006 are smarter than you think.

Their latest album Sandwich is sheer ridiculousness, proposing via the title track this whole endeavor is nothing more than a slab of turkey 'n cheese crammed with whole wheat and a frog (!) wedged between. Or maybe not.

At any rate, Sandwich is a frequently hilarious jibe against the wank machine utilizing booming modes of death metal, punk, funk and crunk. Psychostick operate as if the early days of Incubus, Mudvayne and the Chili Peppers were spent more interested in getting tracks laid down for the payoff of a pizza with green peppers and mushrooms (magic, that is) than getting their feet wet and audiences built with manic funk rock before about-facing for the more demure pastures each of the aforementioned have guiltily strayed into.

Only a band this stupid could have its lead singer Rob "Rawrb" Kersey (who can pull off a convincing Billy Milano when he wants to) wail and puke about citrus in one breath and then literally vomit on the subsequent track, "Beer 2." Albeit nothing will ever outdo Mike Patton's diarrhea attack on the first Mr. Bungle album, this is pretty amusing stuff, especially once Psychostick launches into the nonsensical "Do You Want a Taco?" immediately after nauseating their audience. How about a chili dog to cap?

Jugheads unite as Psychostick go berserk on the laughter-provoking "Minimum Rage," "Grocery Escape Plan, "Caffeine," "Girl Directions," "Don't Eat My Food," "You've Got Mail Enhancement" and "Die...a LOT!"

They also attack corporate chart darlings with lots of rib-jabbing potshots such as "A Lesson in Modesty," "P is the Best Letter" and the knuckleheaded "Attempt at Something Serious" where a lone acoustic interlude in progress keeps getting interrupted by intrusions with squeaky toys and exclamations of "BALLS!" only to be received by a spastic, holier-than-thou primadonna tissy fit. Not far in theory from S.O.D.'s "What's That Noise?" Add to the hate party mix a venomous AOR rock torching in the form of "#1 Radio Single" (as does "The Hunger Within" in music formulation despite talking about nothing more than food, or rather, a lack thereof) where everyone from Staind to 3 Doors Down stands accused.

At times Sandwich overplays its jokes, such as the ten-minute-plus "373 Thank Yous" where Psychostick sings out their credits and thanks with ever-changing metal motifs including hardcore breakdowns and swoon-filled bridges. Funny in concept and execution, the only bitch is the timing of the track. And you thought rap album shout-outs (which this tune assuredly spanks in transition) were tedious...

Psychostick lights up the inherent nihilism of modern hardcore and metalcore with "Passive Vengeance" by threatening to scratch up your favorite CDs and give your dog the runs to the tune of gang-shouted vocal lapses and un-threats of "no direct confrontation at all." At the end of "Passive Vengeance" Psychostick rips on not only their own band name but all of today's three-to-four-word metalcore band names (they would've had a field day with Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky if they'd thought of it).

Sandwich is not as brutally offensive as some of Psychostick's shticky predecessors, but it does get into the gutter when it wants to (the abbreviated, snickerish "Vah-jay-jay" for example) and perhaps only Scatterbrain metalled it up better than these guys. Psychostick does ask if you would like to metal right out the gate and jokesters or not, these guys tighten up frequently, whether they're being serious or not. Then again, when they insert a tinny demo-quality breakdown in the middle of "P is the Best Letter" and issue an apologetic "Just kidding!" before dumbly spelling out the letters of their name with a demand to "get it fucking right or we'll burn down your club," then well... serious is as serious does.

Rating: ***1/2


The Klepto said...

I like this band and album especially, it's funny and not bad music. My favorite tracks are "Caffeine" (mostly because the song slowing down and suddenly speeding up with the adding of a new cup of coffee), "This is Not a Song, It's a Sandwich!" and "#1 Radio $ingle."
And their long track "373 Thank Yous" was created because they couldn't get funding from a record company for a new album, so they sent out the notice (on their website I assume) that if you send them at least 5$ they'd mention you on the new CD. Apparently they raised enough money for this venture.

The RIpple Effect said...

Agree. The album was a total surprise to me and a good one at that. I usually don't like comedy music as it's usually neither, not funny or musical. These cats got it right.

I wish I had a taco.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I made soft tacos tonight, yum! Yeah, these guys do it up pretty well without shooting themselves in the feet.

Klepto, I didn't know that back story about the Thank Yous. That's cool. Still a bit long for my tastes, but I get it now, thx.

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Anonymous said...

I found the cd at sale.
1 dollar.
I expect my money back To buy a chewing gum instead.

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