GWAR’s last album, Violence Has Arrived, raised some eyebrows higher than Groucho Marx’s while delivering a double entendre. Many felt enough violence had already arrived a few months prior courtesy of a couple of planes that didn’t quite reach their intended destination. Violence, an album full of bloody imagery and fueled by a press release cataloging a city’s mass destruction, suddenly went from being a record that probably would’ve met little resistance (being one of GWAR’s least objectionable) to a record that needed full defense. Whereas many “serious” artists were fleeing from prior statements faster than one of those odd looking lizards that run real, real fast on their hind legs, GWAR front man Dave Brockie went on the offense for his prior and current work. Dressing up as a war-mongering Antarctic God and satirizing the darker elements of humanity was no longer enough; while promoting Violence, Brockie stepped outside his Oderus persona to make overt societal commentary. It was at this point that Brockie went from being a musician whose work I’d long enjoyed to my cultural hero.
Before becoming my new personal idol, Brockie had released Diarrhea of a Madman, easily the best album of 2001, with Dave Brockie Experience. For those unaware, DBX is made up of three integral members of GWAR, and play songs along the lines of the more punk or rock oriented GWAR material. This was great for me because, without fail, my favorite material on any given GWAR album is the goofy punk tinged stuff. It was also great for long-term GWAR fans because the guys got a lot of the ridiculous stuff out of their system and then GWAR were able to record an excellent metal release with Violence. DBX put on one of the best shows you’ll ever see (provided you don’t attend on a night Brockie drops acid and sticks his head in a kick drum for one third of the set), a taste of which can be found on their limited release live album Live From Ground Zero.
I know I’ve been a bit vague, so I want to state right up front that I am a bit of a fan. When the chance arose, I eagerly seized the opportunity to review DBX’s latest silver platter, Songs for the Wrong. Unless DBX release another album in the next 5 months, it’s a shoo in for best album of 2003.
Songs for the Wrong isn’t quite as good as its predecessor Diarrhea, but only because two of the songs, “The Chinese Have No Cheese” and “I Wanna Be a Squirrel” don’t entirely gel for me. Practically the rest of the album is made up of cuts more choice than anything Black Sheep could ever come up with. This record is likely to appeal to GWAR fans more than Diarrhea did, as Brockie’s gruff Oderus voice appears with greater frequency. There’re even two songs that would’ve fit just fine on the “straight” Violence album, “Shatilla” and “Slips of Paper.” The vocals remain diverse throughout the album, and the music is all wonderfully fun, though it doesn’t change gears as often as it did on Diarrhea. There’s no epic distraction like Diarrhea’s “Calling Dr. Fong,” so Songs just delivers great song after great song. A few little segues into complete absurdity can be found on Songs, but as on Diarrhea, these little interludes merely beef up the songs around them, making them seem to rage like an irate Sean Penn.
Most of the songs on Diarrhea were short bursts of flurry, but on Songs, some of the tracks stick around longer, allowing for more musical development within their composition. Fans of the quirky rock element GWAR is so good at will delight in ditties like “Slowpoke,” “Hard For a ‘Tard,” “Dog Log,” “Music is Like Beer,” and “Should the Ugly Girl Blow Me?” “Isn’t it Grand Boys” is a fun stab at a drunken, Irish sing-along, but my favorite song is the ballad “Churchmouse in the Snow”…yes, because I’m just a big pussy. “Churchmouse” is a haunting, somber track about a soldier’s death, and this song (along with the absolutely fucking brilliant “I Saw Three Forms” from Diarrhea) should hopefully give even the thickest of their fans an idea how DBX really feel about war.
Songs For the Wrong is fun music in the vein of Ramones or The Dickies. At the bargain price of $9.99 there’s no excuse not to own it. Well, maybe if you’re that ‘tard that Brockie’s so hard for…MAYBE then. But the rest of us should all continue to believe in Bilbo Baggins and support “quiet possibly the silliest experience in music today and quite certainly the silliest experience in music today.”
Check out http://www.oderus.com for tons of cool stuff from Brockie himself.
(Metal Blade) Rating: 9 /10