(1988) was the fourth full-length album released by the Austin "psycho-billy
" group, the Butthole Surfers
, and the last of theirs on the Chicago-based label Touch and Go Records
. It's also the last record released by these fellers in what's considered by most to be their vomiting hey-day of the 80's. On many of these songs, the Buttholes proficiently copy quite a few styles of classic rock (recognizable to someone who has heard very little but the radio heavy representatives of the olden days), while at the same time insulting them with highly concentrated, unconventional potty-humor. The combination between the melodies and their musical belchings will come to you as a balpeen
to the clavicle
Instead of naming each of the eight tracks on the record, the Butthole Surfers chose to provide us with crude drawings for song representation. While the pictorial symbolism usually has no immediate meaning in connection to the content of each song, they clearly meant to guide our attention to something more elusive in their compositions. Therefore, as I describe this work track by track, I will provide you with their physical descriptions (italicized), and the "names vulgarized by their fan-base" (quotated).
Naked Man with Erection Defecating and Throwing Baseball at Naked Woman with Baseball Bat Urinating ("Jimi") kicks off the first side with a low-pitch headbanging squealfest. As the common warning goes, if you're playing the vinyl (the only available format for a while) listen to it on 33 rpm, because that's how'sit's'possedta sound. Impressive guitar-wailing, sliding, and bending occurs from Paul Leary, some mixing heavy on the drummer King Coffey, and some gutteral pronouncements from Gibby Haynes create some kind of sea-sick Giant rock that's quite enjoyable to be paralyzed to. Little over halfway through the twelve minute song, a siren announces a segway into an almost hauntingly beautiful acoustic drifting, backed up by the sound of birds chirping, dogs barking, babies crying down hallways, and bowling alleys. This ends with the gentlest touch of distorted ramblings and then leads us to....
....Horse Urinating ("Ricky"), a more straight-forward little jangle, relatively light on the screaming, catchy riffing. Unsure who "Ricky" is, although I'm no good on rock history. Not too much to say about this track, but it serves to cushion us before the impressive....
Two Naked Women On-All-Fours Presenting Vaginas ("I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas") delivers unto us a revelation. With music that strokes the listener's various insides and vocals that impart messages of grave import, one can find that during the changes of the song ecstacies born within oneself, or, at least, a fit of giggles. Packs a punch and a good way to end side A.
Smoking Cigarette ("John E. Smokes") wonderfully mimics show-stoppers. I'll just let you know that it's a song about John W. Smokes, Jr., his mom, Love and Hate.
Hypodermic Needle ("Rocky") a ridiculous, poppy little ditty about ones friends and their mental states, degenerating into inanities that are punctuated in marked fashions by run-of-the-mill lyrical throw-aways.
Leaping Rabbit Defecating Above Dead Fish ("Julio Iglesias") demonstrates some of the pissiest little meanderings that can come out of Gibby's mouth. Dumb rock-a-billy with lyrics suggested by an annoying six year old, though not without its value of entertainment.
Elk Defecating Below Pooping Bird ("Backass") probably the strangest one musically on the album. Guitar runs backwards with a steady drawl. Dark, brooding, sultry, yipe yipe yipe.
Rocketship Flies Past Grimacing Moon ("The Fart Song" or "Fast") is the greatest way to end an album. This short one comes as a Norwegian 80's Death Metal band in the night, still nauseous from their accidental trip through a timelock directly into your bedroom.
The album's overall strength lies in the first few songs, but it is well worth a purchase as even the latter tracks mentioned have grown on me. These are not novelty songs by any means. But, as any asshole can find those means, the asshole will have to sit through the argument that these songs are memorable as great pieces of musical satire. I say satire because it's the content of the lyrics that are childish poo. The way these droppings are left amongst some well-executed parodies will enthrall anyone else who recognizes the repetativeness of revered old rock hits.