It isn’t often that you stick an album on only to find track one being a cross between an advert for the music to follow, an admonishment of the listener about the cultural effects of not paying for music and a musing about the availability of prescription drugs. Once that sinks in it is difficult to imagine what is going to follow, but you are certainly thinking that is not going to conform to the usual musical templates. And you’d right….sort of.
Musically it wanders between smooth r’n’b and pop infused folk, rather than the musical avant-gardening that the opening rant-o-mercial might have suggested, but it is all about context really. If the likes of Captain Beefheart had grown up on hip-hop or Zappa had sought out a commercial pop career, the result may not have been too dissimilar to this. Sure, it’s musically different, the product of an altogether different evolutionary path but the same attitude and off kilter sense of humour beats at the heart of The Drunken Buddhist that they would have warmed to, especially lyrically.
Don’t Spit in My Food is a tongue in cheek tale right out of the Zappa songbook but updated for the Tinder age, I’m Gonna Party is (hopefully) a parody of the cliché the runs through the centre of contemporary music and the fact that the brilliantly named The Not So Noble Truth’s Voicemails Interlude is a collection of weird messages and mumbled conversations is just a strange added bonus.
The joy of the album is that it is so well done that you lose sight of where the line is, the one between its more serious moments and its parody of modern music. But then again, satire works best when it walks such a fine line.