For conspiracy-minded music fans, there are several striking similarities to consider between the respective collaborations of Jad Fair with Phono-Comb and Fred Schneider (of the B-52's fame) with Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Both projects were released (and essentially ignored) in 1996. Fair and Schneider share a strikingly similar nasal, spoken word vocal delivery. Phono-Comb and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet share a rhythm section: Reid Diamond (bass) and Don Pyle (drums). Steve Albini produced Just Fred for Schneider, while Phono-Comb member Dallas Good handles the production for Monsters, Lullabies...and the Occasional Flying Saucer -- interestingly, Albini would go on to produce the Sadies, fronted by Dallas Good. However, while Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet appear on a mere three songs from Just Fred, the resulting collaboration between rock-savant Fair (billed here as The Orator) and Phono-Comb clearly illustrates a meeting of musical minds, boasting several strong, bizarre tracks. Fair's stream of consciousness, spoken word delivery serves him well, particularly on tracks like "Too Sweet to Be Forgotten," "You Will Have It All," and "That's Where I Went Right." For their part, Phono-Comb manage to create a suitably off-center blend of surf, lounge, and garage rock to accentuate Fair's eccentric musings.
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