Tripping Daisy

Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb

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Tripping Daisy's first two albums were written off as average post-grunge alt-rock records, which may make the presence of Eric Drew Feldman -- a former member of Pere Ubu and a colleague of both Captain Beefheart and Frank Black -- as a producer and keyboardist a little puzzling to the group's detractors. After all, Tripping Daisy was supposed to be in it for the cash and fame, not art, but critics may have to change their tune after listening to the Daisy's third album, Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb. The band has made a big stylistic breakthrough, enhancing the psychedelic subtext that ran through their first two records, retaining their melodic sensibility and jacking up their weirdness quotient, thanks to Feldman. Although there are a few times where their ambitions outweigh their achievements, the entire result is an impressive record that balances punk-pop with art-rock. It's a smart, ambitious and successful album that may come as a surprise, not only for the doubters but for hardcore fans, since nothing they've done before suggests the power of Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb. (Also, it's nice that Tripping Daisy paid tribute to the great, underappreciated indie-rock band Brainiac and its tragically departed leader Tim Taylor by covering "Indian Poker" -- it, like the rest of the album, shows that their hearts are in the right place.)

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